Over the years that I’ve been involved with Biodiesel, the local news media has often interviewed me related to my involvement in Biodiesel. And for the most part, I’ve always been gracious with my time and information and shared what I’ve known.
This time someone got it wrong. Very, very wrong and it completely and utterly ticked me off.
About a month ago a writer from the Deseret News (one of Utah’s largest papers) emailed me telling me that she was doing a story on Biodiesel and wanted to visit with me “about my involvement in Biodiesel”. She didn’t specifically share what it was the article would be about except that it would be about Biodiesel. It seems I was terribly misled.
Instead of being “interviewed for my involvement” about Biodiesel, I was used as a means of furthering a writers agenda to portray Biodiesel as an illegal activity to produce.
Her name is Laura Hancock. The title of the article was “Weary of gas prices, drivers turning to illegal veggie oil”
Really gives you warm fuzzies, eh?
Here’s the link to the piece of trash…(Yes, I’m a bit upset about it).
In the article, she makes it sound like making Biodiesel is akin to making Meth. She goes on to state a source from the EPA that claimed to her that making Biodiesel in a garage by people is completely illegal.
Here’s the part where I was quoted…
“Graydon Blair of Syracuse sells supplies for making biodiesel at UtahBiodieselSupply.com. He started the business in 2005, a side venture while working full time for Intermountain Healthcare. He likened his business to “selling supplies to make beer, but I sell the supplies to make biodiesel.”
Blair knows that he could technically be in violation of EPA rules by making biodiesel. “I’ve heard that before,” he said. “I’ve never seen a case where they’ve gone after someone. I’m not worried. I think the IRS would come after me long before the EPA.”
This quote in particular infuriated me…
Blair knows that he could technically be in violation of EPA rules by making biodiesel. “I’ve heard that before,” he said. “I’ve never seen a case where they’ve gone after someone. I’m not worried. I think the IRS would come after me long before the EPA.
Or, in otherwords, by handily misquoting me she’s claiming that I believe the production of Biodiesel is illegal but yet I sell supplies to people to make it even though I supposedly believe it to be illegal to do so.
Nothing could be farther from the truth! And, the way she quoted me about “the IRS” issue just ticks me off even more.
Since some of you read the article, and since this is my blog and a place to blow off steam, I figured I’d share the REAL story behind this trashy article…
1) Biodiesel has been approved by the EPA as a fuel for use in vehicles in the United States. A group called the National Biodiesel Board paid millions of dollars to have the testing performed according to what the Clean Air Act dictates. The testing was approved and that’s why you can even buy Biodiesel from local gas stations.
2) Ms. Hancock mistakenly relied on “a source” from the EPA and misunderstood the source that claimed that making Biodiesel in a garage violates the Clean Air Act. This is because the source was talking about using Vegetable Oil in a diesel in the US; which has not been approved by the EPA as a viable fuel in a diesel engine and which technically COULD be construed as to be illegal if used.
3) Ms. Hancock failed to identify what exactly was “illegal” about the act of making Biodiesel in a garage. Something she didn’t share with me.
4) Ms. Hancock misquoted me in stating that I said, ” I’m not worried. I think the IRS would come after me long before the EPA.” That’s complete and utter BS!!! I told her that the EPA isn’t nearly concerned with those that burn Biodiesel in their vehicles that they make as the IRS would be because technically burning a fuel in a vehicle that you haven’t paid road taxes on is a much grosser offense than this supposed “Clean Air Act” BS she insisted that I believed in.
Interestingly enough, she even called me back a couple times to ask me about my thoughts on the EPA & this issue. I explained the whole issue behind the National Biodiesel Board, but with her carefully worded questions and by misquoting me just right she made it sound like I blatantly am selling something to help people make something that “I believe is against the law to make” HOGWASH!!!
Of all the gall a reporter could have, this was the worst.
I’ve been interviewed by several of the local media. The largest news radio group in Utah (KSL News Radio), the largest newspaper in Utah (The Salt Lake Tribune), my local paper (The Standard Examiner), National Public Radio (both locally and nationally) and NONE of them have ever pulled this kind of a stunt.
I was so hopping mad when I read the thing.
I’d sent a letter to her claiming that she’d misquoted me to which I received a response back stating that “I had to go with my source from the EPA. They are a “more reputable” source than you and I had to tell it like it was”. BS!!!
I couldn’t believe it! Just left me dumbfounded and amazed.
I sent a note to the editor of the Oh So Precious Deseret News but never did get anything back from them.
Apparently the article started a firestorm with many local Biodiesel enthusiasts because I received several calls & emails asking me about it. Even the former president of the Utah Biodiesel Cooperative sent a note to the editor of the paper asking for a retraction of the article because of how poorly it was written.
Anyway, I’ve vowed to never give another interview to the Deseret News and for that matter, I think I’m done speaking to the media from here on out in regards to my involvement with Biodiesel. I’ve just plain had it with the lack of professionalism and lack of fact checking and misquoting that goes on in articles.
I’ve always been a firm believer that the media is “unbiased, and tries to get it right” but after today, I’m a firm believer that the news media (depending on which one you want to talk about) is just out there to push an agenda and they’ll use anyone they want to pull it off too (ie. by misquoting individuals and making them look like fools on the front page of the paper if they have to).
So, word to the wise….if you ever are asked by your local news media about your involvement in Biodiesel, be careful & cautious. You may just be a pawn to push their agenda. One that might just bite you in the butt.
Utterly disgusted with the local news media!