Bay Area expresses concern over Gulf oil disaster

June 16, 2010 8:12:42 PM PDT
In the Bay Area, demonstrators created a pretend spill at an Oakland gas station to voice their concerns about the disaster in the Gulf and push for less reliance on fossil fuels in the future.

Protestors staged a mock oil spill in front of an Arco station in Oakland, complete with stuffed animals coated in chocolate to represent all that has been lost in the massive BP oil spill.

"We're out here protesting this disaster in the gulf and the role of the big oil industry in basically trying to promote fossil fuels over renewable energy," protestor Al Weinrub said.

Arco is a division of BP, the company responsible for what is now the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history.

Besides capping the leak in the Gulf, these protestors are demanding the U.S. dramatically reduce its dependence on oil.

"We're here to call on the president to give us an audacious plan, right now, to move this country off of oil in 20 years," Kate Kelley of the Sierra Club said.

A few miles away, at the Energy Biosciences Institute at UC Berkeley, scientists are working on developing a sustainable replacement for gasoline. There, researchers try to identify plants that can be used to make fuel. The institute is funded with a $500 million grant from BP.

UC professor Dan Kammen is an energy expert who serves as an advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Kammen says biofuels are just part of the solution.

"I suspect there will be a mix; we'll certainly have some remaining regular petroleum in the mix and we'll certainly have a large fleet of vehicles that use biofuels," he said. "The real challenge will be to have green biofuels. That is, not just from plants, but biofuels that don't come at the expense of the forests or people's livelihoods."

The federal government's goal is for 30 percent of all transportation fuels to be biofuels by 2030.


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