De Lijn ordered to stop using biofuel

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Belgian transport minister has suspended the Flemish transport company from using biofuel, pending more information regarding alleged negative effects.

22 May 2008

BELGIUM - The use of biofuel for buses of Flemish transport company De Lijn has been suspended.

The decision was taken in reaction to the controversy regarding the advantages of biofuel.

The De Lijn buses have been running on a mixture that includes 3 percent biodiesel.

However, according to Flemish Mobility Minister Kathleen Van Brempt, it is unclear if biodiesel is actually good.

"We wanted to increase the percentage of biodiesel in the fuel De Lijn uses, but now it looks like this might not be an ethically responsible thing to do," says Minister Van Brempt.

Critics of biofuels blame them for pushing up food prices and causing hunger in already poor regions of the world.

"If it turns out that the food prices are rising in the developing countries as a result of biofuels, then we have to set priorities. I cannot believe that we would not set food as a priority over producing biofuel from crops. That would be unethical," says Van Brempt.

The transport minister has decided to suspend the use of biodiesel for De Lijn buses pending more information.

De Lijn is a global leader in the use of biofuels.

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