A Texas Entrepreneur Says Renewable Diesel Will Save the Planet, but Many Enviros Call It Snake Oil

I’m using a vintage musical as a framework to better understand what exactly is playing out in the sleepy rural enclave of Clatskanie.

If you’re not familiar with The Music Man, let me give you a quick synopsis.

A feller comes to town making big promises to a small, stubborn community about what value he can add to their lives and the lives of their children. His schtick is to sell a bunch of musical instruments under the guise of forming a marching band to keep bad kids out of trouble. But the real plan is that once the instruments arrive and have all been paid for, the Music Man kicks rocks, essentially leaving the community worse off than he found it, angry as ever, and poorer still for being involved with such a charlatan.

Is there a similar scenario shaking out in Clatskanie? For today’s episode of the Dive podcast, my guest Anthony Effinger and I will explain how a proposal for a fish grease fuel plant has shaken up the small Columbia River community.

I’m using this vintage musical as a framework to better understand what exactly is playing out in the sleepy rural enclave of Clatskanie, and hoping it’s an apt reflection of why such an environmentally beneficial proposal feels a bit doomed.

Here we have a smart-talking businessman with a decisive, logical plan to rejuvenate an ailing township, but his past ventures leave people wondering about whether his latest project will succeed. Is a renewable fish-gut diesel plant too good to be true? I ask Anthony all about it.

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