Renewable fuel industry disappointed in Senate energy votes


Today, the Senate failed to pass the Stabenow amendment extending key biofuel tax incentives, such as the Cellulosic Biofuels Producer Tax Credit (PTC) the Accelerated Depreciation Allowance for Cellulosic Biofuel Plant Property, and the Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Tax Credit available to blender pumps and other ethanol fueling infrastructure. The final vote was 49-49.

The National Biodiesel Board, Advanced Ethanol Council and Renewable Fuels Association each expressed disappointment Tuesday after the Senate voted down the amendment.

“This is another missed opportunity for Congress to do something to boost the economy. We’re talking about thousands of jobs across the country that are affected by this, and the very real possibility that biodiesel plants will go out of business,” said Anne Steckel, NBB’s vice president of federal affairs. “It’s also a missed opportunity for Congress to do something about these oil price spikes by diversifying our fuel supplies and reducing our exposure to the global petroleum markets.”

“We thank Sen. Stabenow and Sen. Roberts for including biodiesel in their amendments, and we urge Congress to break this partisan gridlock and find a way to enact policies like the biodiesel tax credit that have strong bipartisan support.”

Advanced Ethanol Council Executive Director Brooke Coleman issued the following statement:

“Unfortunately the Senate missed an opportunity to put to bed the pressing need to extend expiring tax incentives for cellulosic biofuels and other sources of domestically produced clean energy. We appreciate Senator Stabenow’s effort to advance this piece of must-pass cellulosic biofuels policy, and we look forward to getting these provisions extended as soon as possible. The underlying reality is the lack of policy certainty is driving clean energy investment overseas and putting the United States behind the eight ball when it comes to clean energy development. Echoing the 49 U.S. Senators who voted for the Stabenow amendment today, we cannot afford to miss any more opportunities to get this done.”

Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen reiterated Coleman’s sentiment:

“Every member of Congress agrees that America needs to reduce its reliance on imported oil and create jobs here at home.  These tax incentives would help accomplish both of those goals.  New biofuel technologies promise to bring increased economic opportunity to scores of communities all across the nation, create tens of thousands of jobs, and increase America’s supply of domestically-produced renewable alternatives to imported oil.  Likewise, increasing volumes of renewable fuels like ethanol have the potential to further reduce America’s foreign oil tab if investments in infrastructure offering higher level blends are encouraged.  In the face of record gas prices for this time of year and the very real possibility for $5 gas, I urge Congress to move swiftly to pass extensions of these tax incentives and accelerate America’s break with foreign oil.”

Congress allowed the $1-per-gallon biodiesel tax incentive to expire on Dec. 31, despite the fact that the incentive helped the biodiesel industry achieve record production last year of nearly 1.1 billion gallons, supporting more than 39,000 jobs.

Sources: National Biodiesel Board & Renewable Fuels Association