States make strong commitments to biodiesel

By | August 01, 2006
As state legislative sessions drew to a close for 2006, some significant laws came to fruition for biodiesel. A few of the states breathing easier-with the close of session and with laws promoting biodiesel-are New York, Louisiana and Florida.

New York Gov. George Pataki had already signed a residential bioheat credit that took effect in July. The state income tax incentive allows homeowners to receive 1 cent per percentage of biodiesel blended into heating oil, not to exceed 20 cents per gallon. Provisions of New York's transportation-related biodiesel legislation include:

-A biofuel production tax credit that kicks in after the first 40,000 gallons produced -Elimination or reduction of motor fuel taxes on alternative fuels such as B20
-Grants awarded by New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to encourage more pumps (the governor's directive of opening B20 pumps at New York's 27 rest stops is already underway)
-An alternative fuel refueling tax credit equal to 50 percent of costs of refueling property
-Allowing "clean energy" companies to operate free of taxation

Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco recently signed legislation that establishes a minimum biodiesel requirement for diesel fuel sold in the state. Once annualized production volume in Louisiana reaches 10 million gallons, 2 percent of the total diesel sold by volume in the state must be biodiesel. This law requires the biodiesel to be produced from domestically grown feedstock. Blenders and retailers are required to meet this requirement within six months of the production volume being met. Retailers are not required to sell biodiesel, and it is not required to be sold in ozone non-attainment areas. There are currently no plants operating in the state.

Across the gulf in Florida, Gov. Jeb Bush signed the Florida Energy Act to diversify fuel supply, conserve resources and promote energy independence. The act provides for sales tax exemptions and investment tax credits for costs associated with renewable energy technologies, which include biodiesel. The provision defines "costs" as equipment, machinery, capital costs, operation and maintenance costs, and research and development. A grant program has also been established for research and development projects associated with renewable energy technologies.
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