An occasional look at the stars who bring their causes to Washington. Monday’s visitor: Neil Young
Event: National Farmers Union rally promoting passage of a five-year farm bill and touting the renewable fuel standard.
Venue: Capitol Hill’s Lower Senate Park.
Bona fides: Legendary singer-songwriter; FarmAid founder; electric car and biodiesel enthusiast.
Backup: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), NFU President Roger Johnson. What he wants: Fuel standards mandating an increased amount of biomasses in transportation fuel.
How he looked: Like an album cover. Black fedora, sunglasses, muttonchop sideburns, green “Go Family Farms” tee.
How he sounded: Passionate if a little windy. Spoke without notes for 10 minutes touching on family farmers, the plight of Native Americans near Canadian oilsand developments, and fuel-efficient speeds (“It’s better to drive 55 than 75”). Back story: Young arrived at the rally via a meandering cross-continent trip in his converted bio-electric ’59 Lincoln. “When the electrity runs out, the American farmers and the Canadian farmers and the crops that you grow make this car go. . . Some people are saying cars don’t run right [on ethanol]. . . That’s disinformation.”
Soundbite: “I love what [ethanol] smells like and how it makes my car go. . . It’s a beautiful fuel.”