House votes to extend biodiesel tax credit through 2014

By Ron Kotrba | December 04, 2014

In a vote of 378 to 46, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass a short-term tax extenders package (HR 5771) Dec. 3 that would reinstate the biodiesel tax incentive retroactive to its expiration on Jan. 1, 2014, through the end of this year only. The National Biodiesel Board is urging lawmakers to act quickly on a longer-term tax deal that would provide more certainty for growth and investment in the U.S. biodiesel industry.

“While we appreciate a one-year extension, we are urging Congress to continue pressing for a longer-term policy that can afford this industry the certainty needed to invest and grow,” said Anne Steckel, NBB’s vice president of federal affairs. “Biodiesel businesses across the country are poised to expand their operations, hire new workers and build new infrastructure, but we need forward-looking policy.”

“Under a 2014-only package, we will see the biodiesel tax incentive expire on Jan. 1 for the fourth time in six years. It is very difficult to run a business with that kind of uncertainty,” Steckel added. “So whether it happens in the closing days of this Congress or early next year, we are calling on Congress to act as quickly as possible to pass a multi-year extension that provides some stability.”

The House vote sets up a potential Senate vote in the coming days.

“The biodiesel incentive is proven to create jobs and economic activity, and it pays tremendous dividends in terms of reducing costly pollution and improving our energy security as well,” said NBB Board Chairman Steven J. Levy, managing director at Sprague Operating Resources. “It is a successful policy that is working so there is no reason to have this kind of perpetual uncertainty.”

NBB is holding a fly-in Dec. 4 with nearly 50 biodiesel producers, feedstock suppliers and other stakeholders, who are on Capitol Hill advocating a longer-term deal.

In addition to the biodiesel tax credit, HR 5771 includes extension of the second-generation biofuel production tax credit for algae and cellulosic biofuels. The Algae Biomass Organization also called on Congress and the White House to negotiate a long-term tax policy for renewable fuels.

“Algae-based technologies can help supply the full range of transportation fuels we use every day, but to make these approaches commercially available soon the industry needs more robust and predictable regulations and policies from Washington,” said Matt Carr, executive director of the ABO. “A long-term credit for the production of advanced biofuels would increase the confidence of investors and entrepreneurs that the United States is committed to bringing a new generation of biofuel technologies. The passage of [this] bill is a positive step forward, but we hope to see more in the future.”

The American Soybean Association also expressed its appreciation for a near-term fix and disappointment in the absence of a longer-term solution.

“ASA first and foremost supports a long-term extension of several of the items included in [this] short-term fix,” said ASA President and Iowa Farmer Ray Gaesser. “These initiatives include the dollar-per-gallon biodiesel tax credit, expensing for farm equipment and infrastructure under the Section 179 expensing provision, and bonus depreciation on farm assets. Such an approach provides greater certainty and a more stable climate for the farmers and producers who make use of these programs, and we were very disappointed that agreement was not reached on a broader measure. That said, we support the House’s passage of their short-term extension in the absence of a more permanent solution. While it remains only a stopgap measure, we hope that the Senate will take up and pass it quickly. At that point, we urge both chambers to join together and tackle the work of extending these critical tax incentives for the long term.”

 

 
 
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