Push for Tax Credit Renewal

Jobe addresses importance of tax credit at International Biomass Conference
By Erin Voegele | June 14, 2011

National Biodiesel Board CEO Joe Jobe was a featured speaker at the International Biomass Conference & Expo in St. Louis May 3. Jobe joined the leaders of six other trade associations active in the bioeconomy to discuss cooperation and federal policy during a plenary session, titled Association Executive Roundtable: Our Industry in a Changed Political Landscape.

During the session, Jobe stressed the importance of extending the biodiesel tax credit. “There are certainly folks that like to sort of chatter and speculate on policy, but it is our industry’s position that our No. 1 priority is to get the extension of the biodiesel tax credit,” he says.

While the RFS2 is now a central part of the policy framework going forward, Jobe noted that the program and tax credit are designed to work together. “This is the first full year of [RFS2] implementation,” he says. “Last year was a half year, the first year transition year from RFS1 to RFS2, and it wasn’t generating any demand. So, this is the first year of the RFS2. That is critical…and this is the first year that we’ve ever had the tax credit and the RFS2 working in tandem—and guess what? It works.”

Jobe also notes that the biodiesel tax credit has been a very effective piece of energy policy. “It has led to investments in plants and plant science research,” he says. “It is driving a significant amount of plant science research…We are investing in algae, the greening companies are investing in yield technology because of what’s going on in the sector. It works and we need to get it extended and it is going to help to [make] the RFS2 be more successful, buffer against waivers by the petroleum industry and other things. I would urge those who are publically speculating about the tax credit within our sector to not do that. We don’t really want to negotiate with ourselves, and it is very important that we put ourselves in the best position possible to get the credit extended. We’re not helping that position by suggesting that it’s not needed.”

Given the focus on debt reduction in Congress right now, Jobe admits it’s going to be a challenge to get the tax credit renewed before the end of the year. He also stresses that he thinks the biodiesel industry has a good chance at success. “We’ve got a different set of circumstances in our industry,” he says. “Our tax credit is a quarter-century younger than the ethanol tax credit. We just need a little bit more time to get a little bit more mature.”

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