A bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives this week would provide a two-year extension for the biodiesel and renewable diesel blenders tax credit.
The bipartisan Biodiesel Tax Credit Extension Act of 2019 is sponsored by Reps. Abby Finkenauer, D-Iowa; Adrian Smith, R-Neb.; Mike Kelly, R-Pa.; and Ron Kind, D-Wis. The bill is co-sponsored by Reps. Angie Craig, D-Minn.; Cheri Bustos, D-Ill.; Cindy Axne, D-Iowa; Danny K. Davis, D-Ill.; Darin LaHood, R-Ill.; Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa; Jackie Walorski, R-Ind.; Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn.; Bill Pascrell, D-N.J.; and John Larson, D-Conn.
The House legislative language is identical to the biodiesel tax incentive provision in Senate legislation introduced by Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa and Ron Wyden, D-Oregon. The Senate legislation (S.617) would provide a two-year extension of expired temporary tax incentives, including the blenders credit.
Kurt Kovarik, vice president of federal affairs for the National Biodiesel Board, said the tax credit is much needed at a time of uncertainty in agriculture and biofuels.
"Biodiesel companies and their employees are facing an uncertain future because the biodiesel tax incentive has been expired for 15 months," he said.
"The economic pressure is threatening the future of the industry, putting good-paying, blue-collar jobs and production of a low-carbon, domestic fuel at stake. It is adding economic pressure to farmers who have been hit from both sides by unfavorable weather and trade disputes. If enacted swiftly, this bill will provide the agricultural economy some certainty and relief for 2018 and 2019."
The industry has seen more than 300 million gallons of biodiesel demand eroded as a result of small refinery waivers to the Renewable Fuel Standard approved by the EPA in recent years.
A group of more than 70 representatives of the biodiesel industry pressed House leaders to pass a multi-year extension of the biodiesel blenders credit, in a letter delivered to the House on March 26.
The NBB said in a news release a renewal of the biodiesel and renewable diesel tax incentive was "an urgent priority."
Congress retroactively extended the incentive for 2017, in February 2018. That left the credit expired for 2018 and beyond.
In the letter, the biodiesel industry stakeholders wrote, "The future of the credit has been unclear for more than 14 months. That uncertainty is curtailing investments in new plants and capital projects to upgrade existing plants. It is beginning to force some producers, blenders and distributors to cut back purchases of raw materials and deliveries of renewable fuel to consumers, which will have impacts across the economy.
"The U.S. biodiesel and renewable diesel industry's continued success is now at stake. Tens of thousands of American workers and manufacturers -- as well as the millions of Americans who benefit from cleaner air and water -- are depending on you to provide our industry the certainty we need to secure investments and continue growing over the next several years."
Todd Neeley can be reached at email@example.com
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