Agrofuels Rally at Low Carbon Fuel Standard Hearing

posted by Rainforest Action Network

Yesterday’s Agrofuels rally at the Low Carbon Fuel Standard was, in a word, beautiful. We rode up to Sacramento in Lola, the Mexican bus (fueled by biodiesel made from recycled vege oil) and met up with students from UC Davis and allies from Rising Tide to declare our opposition to agrofuels in the Low Carbon Fuel Standard and support of the exclusion of oil from the Alberta Tarsands.

thanks to Kevin Buckland for the artwork (note the carniverous cars!)
thanks to Kevin Buckland for the artwork (note the carniverous cars!)

During the rally filled with chants like “No agrofuels no oil, we don’t want the world to boil” and a long list of speakers, an enormous banner that read “Agrofuels are not Low-Carbon” unfurled from the parking structure across the street. Speakers included Altacir Bunde from the Brazilian Popular Movement of Small Farmers (MCP), Brazilian documentary film maker and human rights activist Maria Luisa Mendoca, Jeff Conant from Food and Water Watch, Eric Holt Jimenez from Food First, RAN’s agrofuel program mangager Andrea Samulon, Tar sands campaigner Brant Olsen, our ED Mike Brune and others.

Afterwards we all went into the Low Carbon Fuel Standard hearing itself, with our t-shirts the read “Agrofuels are not Low Carbon”. When a representative from the ethanol industry from Brazil spoke about how clean and green ethanol from sugar cane is, many of us got up, showed our shirts and walked out. Before leaving, Maria Mendoca shouted out “He’s a liar, he’s a liar, the expansion of sugar cane for ethanol is destroying the rainforests in Brazil!”

A number of folks from our group stayed to speak, including Altacir Bunde who told the California Air Resources Board:

“The idea that the ethanol produced in Brazil is clean is not true, because in order to produce ethanol you have to burn sugar cane fields, use  toxic chemicals, dry up our ground water, clear-cut forests, and pollute what water is left with residues from the ethanol processing.   Also the production of ethanol uses more slaves than any other industry in Brazil.  Fuel production is replacing food production, and destroying communities of small farmers. Our food crisis is getting worse with the expansion of agrofuels, not only in Brazil, but around the world. Agrofuels is not a solution. We say yes to food sovereignty and no to agrofuels!”

Brant Olsen stayed back to speak  to CARB about the tar sands. He pointed out that Low Carbon Fuel standard will help keep dirty oil from Canada’s tar out of California by imposing a penalty on importers, which is great because:

a)it means California will set a global example by resisting short-sighted industry plans to dig us deeper into oil addiction

b)less tar sands should also mean less localized pollution from oil refineries down the road, since processing tar sands produces more pollution than conventional oil.

Check out our local television coverage,

our press release

our flicker site to see more photos

more online media

and an article in the Sacramento Bee

Hear Altacir Bunde and Maria Luisa Mendoca speak:

Monday April 27, 7-8:30 at UC Berkeley, 159 Mulford Hall

Tuesday April 28, 6:30-8:00 at San Francisco State, Room HSS 259