Advanced ethanol leaders urge tax extensions in Farm Bill


The Advanced Ethanol Council (AEC) urged Senate Ag Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Ranking Member Pat Roberts (R-KS) to include two key tax extensions for advanced and cellulosic ethanol producers.

In a letter to the committee leaders, AEC Executive Director Brooke Coleman wrote, “The Cellulosic Biofuels Producer Tax Credit (PTC) — created in the 2008 Farm Bill — and the Special Depreciation Allowance for Cellulosic Biofuel Plant Property are vital to the ongoing development of the domestic advanced ethanol industry.  … Several billion dollars have been invested in advanced biofuels development with the expectation that Congress will stay the course with regard to its commitment to the industry.  A tax increase on advanced biofuels at this time would curtail investment and undercut an industry just starting to close deals and break ground on first commercial plants.”

Beyond the tax extension, Coleman also highlighted four areas in which the Farm Bill could help accelerate the commercialization of advanced and cellulosic ethanol technologies.  These areas include:

• Extend the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Loan Guarantee program for biorefinery projects, but improve critical provisions of the program to more effectively facilitate participation by lending institutions.

• Support USDA’s efforts to build out ethanol refueling infrastructure via the Rural Energy for America Program to allow ethanol to compete in the market based on price.  This will facilitate market access that is critical to the ongoing development and deployment of advanced ethanol fuels.

• Reform the Biomass Crop Assistance Program to increase cost effectiveness and better encourage and reduce the risk of energy crop production for the advanced biofuel sector, including efforts to preserve the environmental benefits of land coming out of conservation programs by incenting sustainable energy crop production.

• Modify the Repowering Assistance program to help existing bio-refining operations deploy advanced ethanol technologies and feedstock utilization.

“We are aware that the funding available for new Farm Bill will be reduced significantly.  We look forward to thinking creatively with you about comprehensive solutions that reduce cost but continue to provide meaningful value to an emerging advanced ethanol industry.  We appreciate your ongoing support for the advanced biofuels industry and look forward to further discussion of this important matter,” Coleman concluded.

Source: Renewable Fuels Association