Ethanol Blog

Group of 46 House Members Press for Biodiesel Credit

Todd Neeley
By  Todd Neeley , DTN Staff Reporter
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Lawmakers are making a push to approve a multi-year biodiesel tax credit yet in 2018. (Photo courtesy of the National Biodiesel Board)

A group of 46 lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives are pressing House leadership to take action yet this year on the biodiesel blender's credit that expired in 2017.

In a letter on Thursday to House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., the lawmakers push for a multi-year extension of the credit.

For years the biodiesel industry has faced ups and downs with the tax credit, which often has been subject to 11th-hour budget battles.

In the letter led by Reps. David Young, R-Iowa, and Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, the lawmakers make a case that the credit is needed at a time when agriculture continues to struggle.

"Biodiesel and renewable diesel producers are putting investments on hold in the face of the uncertainty created by the off-again, on-again nature of tax incentive eligibility," the letter said. "A multi-year extension of the biodiesel and renewable diesel incentives will provide the industry the certainty it needs to continue to generate the economic and environmental public benefits."

The biodiesel credit was retroactively renewed for 2017 in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 passed in March. So the credit has not been effect this year. The lawmakers said biodiesel production adds about 63 cents of value to every bushel of soybeans.

"During a time when farm income is at its lowest point in more than a decade, crop prices are below the cost of production, and agriculture markets are bearing the brunt of trade disputes, this value is especially important," the letter said.

Kurt Kovarik, vice president of federal affairs for the National Biodiesel Board, said in a statement that farmers need the credit in light of what is expected to be a large soybean crop harvested this year.

"Right now, soybean farmers are harvesting a record crop but facing extreme uncertainty about the price they'll receive and whether they'll have access to markets," he said. "A multiyear extension of the biodiesel tax incentive would give farmers a welcome bit of certainty this year."

In addition, the biodiesel industry has paid a price from EPA's small refinery waivers issued in 2016 and 2017, to the tune of about 300 million gallons lost.

In a legal brief filed in July challenging the EPA's implementation of the RFS, the National Biodiesel Board said the EPA "must account for and eliminate the shortfalls" when setting the next RFS volumes.

Read the letter here: http://kce.informz.net/…

Todd Neeley can be reached at todd.neeley@dtn.com

Follow me on Twitter @toddneeleyDTN

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