NBB Insight

An update from Capitol Hill
By Joe Jobe | September 01, 2006
The "dog days of summer" have arrived in Washington, D.C., bringing sweltering heat and Congress' annual August recess period. Very little legislative activity occurs during this time, so it gives us a good opportunity to reflect on what has happened to date and what we might expect for the balance of this Congress.

With the return of Congress in early September, there will be less than 20 "legislative days" on the calendar prior to Congress' anticipated adjournment for the year. With the short number of those days remaining and the fact that this is an election year, we do not anticipate much movement in the way of substantial, far-reaching energy- or tax-related bills.

However, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) and the biodiesel industry have aggressively pursued an extension of the volumetric blenders tax credit this year-our top legislative priority. Several bills have been introduced in this regard, including:
-S. 2401: Introduced by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., chairman and ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee (in charge of tax writing), this bill extends the credit an additional two years through 2010.
-H.R. 5650: Introduced by Rep. Kenny Hulshof, R-Mo., and Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., members of the House Ways & Means Committee (in charge of tax writing), this bill provides for a permanent extension of the tax credit.

Even though the likelihood of an energy/tax package moving this year is small, we will continue to work with stakeholders to build support for these measures. We remain vigilant in our efforts to exhaust every opportunity to realize an extension yet this year.

Completion of the annual appropriation bills will be a priority for Congress. They must complete work on these before leaving for the year. Considerable work remains to be done, including completion of two bills containing biodiesel-related priorities. H.R. 5384, which addresses agriculture appropriations, provides funding for the USDA National Biodiesel Education Program, which has been instrumental in helping raise public awareness of biodiesel from 27 percent in the summer of 2004 to 41 percent in December 2005. Additionally, the NBB, in working with our Senate industry champions, has been able to have $1.5 million inserted as part of the Senate Appropriation Committee's version of H.R. 5427, addressing energy and water appropriations. This funding for critical testing with advanced engine technologies was authorized as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

As our industry grows, so does the list of regulatory and legislative issues impacting our industry. These are but a couple of critical areas for the industry that we will be focusing on for the remainder of this Congress.
 
 
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