Biodiesel makers lobbying Hill to reinstate tax credit

Source: Tiffany Stecker, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Biodiesel makers are pushing members of Congress this week to reinstate an expired tax credit to produce the renewable fuel, a financial support whose absence has hurt the domestic industry, according to the National Biodiesel Board.

Nearly 100 industry representatives are meeting with lawmakers today to reinstate the biodiesel tax incentive as a domestic production credit rather than a subsidy for blending the plant-based fuel with conventional biodiesel.

“This is a common-sense reform that will appropriately focus the incentive on stimulating U.S. production and jobs while streamlining IRS administration of the credit,” Anne Steckel, the National Biodiesel Board’s vice president of federal affairs, said in a statement. “It makes a good policy better.”

The production credit expired on Dec. 31 last year, the fourth time in six years that Congress did not renew the credit at the close of the year, according to the biodiesel board.

“Members of Congress should understand that in the business world, this kind of unpredictability makes planning for growth nearly impossible,” said Harry Simpson, CEO of Crimson Renewable Energy LP, a Denver-based company that operates one of the largest biodiesel refineries on the West Coast in Bakersfield, Calif.

Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) introduced an amendment to the Senate tax extenders package in July that would convert the $1-a-gallon tax credit to companies that blend biodiesel and renewable diesel into a producer tax credit, as well as make imported biofuels ineligible for the credit. The move was opposed by petroleum trade groups and the Advanced Biofuels Association (E&ENews PM, Oct. 22).

Advanced Biofuels Association President Michael McAdams has said he opposes changing the blender’s credit to a producer’s credit because it could raise prices for end-users.

“The current blender’s credit for biofuels creates a competitive market for biodiesel and renewable diesel, which benefits the American consumer,” McAdams said last month.