Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Opinion

February 19, 2013

In Your View

ASHLAND — Senator errs about industrial hemp

I must take great exception to my friend and fellow Republican, Sen. Chris Girdler. His comments on industrial hemp comparing it to a Chia Pet were not only unconstructive but also demonstrate an extremely uninformed position on this issue. They sought to diminish the economic benefits of industrial hemp as a biomass feedstock for the production of alternative energy and the manufacturing of a wide variety of goods ranging from textiles to automobile parts to transportation fuel.

According to EKU center for Renewable and Alternative Fuel Technologies, a single commercial biorefinery with a capacity of 50 million gallons of biodiesel per year is estimated to have a total economic impact of $480 million with about 2,000 jobs created. Drop-in fuels, such as biodiesel and cellulosic ethanol, along with chemical feedstock that would allow for the production of bioplastics, are viable applications of industrial hemp that can be developed right here in Kentucky.

Our company is conducting tests on the viability of industrial hemp of blending with coal. This potentially could strengthen Kentucky coal competitiveness and boost job creation in the coal mining industry. It’s hoped all public officials would get on board for job creation because of the impact on rural communities.

Our company would utilize industrial hemp as a feedstock as part of our energy production, once restrictions are removed. We would hope to work with Senator Girdler in his capacity as both an elected official and as a representative for Congressman Rogers’ office to move projects forward in the Fifth District.

I personally contacted Senator Girdler to provide him an opportunity to discuss this issue to better understand the position of our company, the business community and farmers. The offer stands at any time, senator.

Roger Ford, CEO, Patriot Bioenergy Corp., Pikeville

CCAP helps many families

I agreed wholeheartedly with the Feb. 16 letter from David Carroll concerning cuts to the Child Care Assistance Program proposed by the state.

However, he lost me in the last paragraph. This is not “some country named Abuja.” Abuja is the capital of Nigeria, a planned city much like Brasilia, Washington, D.C., and Canberra. It became the capital of Nigeria in 1991.

I encourage people to contact the governor and legislators to find a way to restore funding to the CCAP, a state program that benefits many families and their children.

Craig Clere, Ashland

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