Mark Hall, regional Extension agent with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, has been appointed to the new Alabama Alternative Energy Committee.

Gov. Bob Riley and Commissioner Ron Sparks of the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries announced the formation of a committee to develop a comprehensive alternative energy policy for the state. It is made up of energy experts and leaders from the state’s universities, forestry and agriculture sectors, manufacturers, energy providers, and state and local government officials.

"This bipartisan alliance will work to find common ground on proposals that promote homegrown sources of energy," Governor Riley said. "We are eager to advance the development of renewable energy resources that help secure our energy future and also provide an opportunity for rural economic development in Alabama."

"Alabama is one of the few states in the U.S. without a formal energy policy," said Commissioner Sparks. "This committee will ensure we are heading in the right direction. Not only does producing fuel right here in Alabama help our farmers by creating a demand for their products, it will also allow us to become less dependent on foreign oil."

Hall has statewide responsibility for educating Alabamians about biofuels.

Joining Hall on the committee are a number of faculty and professionals from Auburn University. Representing Auburn are David Bransby, professor of agronomy and soils and switchgrass researcher; Steve Taylor, professor of biosystems engineering and head of AU’s Alternative Energy Committee; Larry Fillmer, executive director of the Institute of Natural Resources; and Ralph Zee, acting associate provost and vice-president for research.