Lawmakers Propose Extension of Biodiesel Tax Credit

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U.S. Rep. Abby Finkenauer, D-Iowa, has introduced the Biodiesel Tax Credit Extension Act, which proposes a two-year extension of the biodiesel tax credit. Congress had previously extended the tax credit retroactively for 2017 but left it expired for 2018 and beyond, explains Finkenauer.

“This legislation extends the biodiesel tax credit vital to Iowa’s economy at a time when farm income is at its lowest point in more than a decade and farmers are bearing the brunt of ongoing trade disputes,” says the congresswoman. “Biodiesel production supports over 60,000 jobs across the United States and generates an economic impact of over $11 billion. A low-carbon source of energy, biodiesel is good for the environment and is a crucial part of a green economy.”

Finkenauer worked with a bipartisan group of co-sponsors to develop H.R.2089: U.S. 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.

Applauding the proposed bill is the National Biodiesel Board (NBB), which says the U.S. biodiesel market has grown from about 100 million gallons in 2005, when the tax incentive was first implemented, to more than 2.6 billion gallons annually since 2016.

“Biodiesel companies and their employees are facing an uncertain future because the biodiesel tax incentive has been expired for 15 months,” notes Kurt Kovarik, NBB’s vice president of federal affairs. “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.”

Other biofuel stakeholders supporting the legislation include NATSO, the Advanced Biofuels Association, the American Trucking Associations, the National Association of Convenience Stores, and the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America.

“This legislation underscores the fact that the biodiesel tax credit has strong Democratic support in the House of Representatives,” comments David Fialkov, vice president of government affairs for NATSO, a national association representing truckstops and travel plazas. “The authors of this legislation understand that the biodiesel tax credit helps create jobs, reduce the transportation sector’s greenhouse-gas emissions, and enable fuel retailers to offer more competitively priced diesel fuel, which, in turn, lowers the price of all consumer goods that are moved by truck. The biodiesel tax credit has bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress. It’s time to get this done.”

The House bill mirrors a biodiesel tax incentive provision in Senate legislation introduced by U.S. Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Ron Wyden, D-Ore. Their bill, S.617, would provide a two-year extension of expired temporary tax incentives, including the biodiesel and renewable diesel tax incentive.

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