Biodiesel board chairman testifies at Farm Bill hearing
The chairman of the National Biodiesel Board told lawmakers at a House Agriculture hearing May 18 that biodiesel production benefits rural economies across the country and urged them to continue key programs in the 2012 Farm Bill.
Gary Haer, NBB's chairman and a vice president at Renewable Energy Group, a leading U.S. biodiesel producer, testified before the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy and Forestry on issues relating to the energy title of the pending Farm Bill. He highlighted the biodiesel industry's growth and diversity, pointing out that more than half of the lawmakers on the panel have at least one biodiesel production plant in their districts.
"NBB estimates that those plants and others like them across the country supported more than 39,000 jobs in all sectors of the U.S. economy in 2011," Haer said. "Most of the more than 200 biodiesel production facilities in the U.S. are located in rural areas, and a majority of the feedstock used to produce biodiesel is grown or originates in rural areas."
Haer specifically called for the committee to continue funding for the Biodiesel Fuel Education Program and the Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels, programs that are critical to raising awareness of biodiesel and stimulating new production. The programs are succeeding, he noted, pointing out that they helped the industry produce a record of nearly 1.1 billion gallons of fuel last year.
"Biodiesel is part of the ‘all-of-the-above’ energy strategy outlined by many energy leaders across the country," Haer added. "The recent oil price spikes should remind us all why this is important. With domestically produced alternatives to oil, we can reduce the influence that global forces such as OPEC have over our economy."
Biodiesel is produced in nearly every state in the country and last year supported more than 39,000 jobs and $3.8 billion in GDP, according to a recent study conducted by Cardno ENTRIX, an international economics consulting firm. NBB is the U.S. biodiesel trade association.