NBB In Sight

Timing Is Everything
By Joe Jobe, NBB CEO | April 25, 2007
Over the past several months, I've touched on the fact that 2007 could be a watershed year for the biodiesel industry and that action taken in Washington, D.C., this year could set the foundation for the industry's continued growth well into the foreseeable future. There is a saying that "timing is everything." In the case of our upcoming June board meeting in Washington, D.C., and our ability to rally the industry at a very critical period for our legislative agenda, this couldn't be truer.

Congress has begun its work in earnest, and the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) has been actively engaged in promoting its legislative agenda for the following:

The long-term extension of volumetric biodiesel tax credits

The inclusion of a biodiesel production incentive program and the continuation of the Biodiesel Fuel Education Grant Program in the next Farm Bill

Critical funding for testing biodiesel blends in new diesel engine technologies

A specific role for biodiesel to help meet the nation's energy security needs as part of a new or expanded renewable fuels standard, as well as to fight significant threats facing the industry

Threats include important trade issues relative to the tax credit and the recent ruling by the Internal Revenue Service to broaden the definition of "renewable diesel." The NBB is committed to protecting the industry from these threats but must have help from the industry.

The next 90 days will be a crucial period for our legislative agenda. June and July will be a very active period on the Hill in advance of Congress' annual August recess period. Leadership in both the House and Senate have indicated their desire to see energy and energy tax-related legislation on the floor of each body prior to the August recess. The chairmen of the House and Senate Agriculture committees have detailed equally aggressive schedules for their work on respective versions of a Farm Bill, while chairs of the Appropriations committees have vowed to complete action on all appropriations bills prior to the start of the new fiscal year Oct. 1. Our industry's top priorities are within these areas of jurisdiction.

There are many competing interests vying for time and limited resources in Washington, D.C., that could be devoted to our industry's needs and priorities. The NBB has committed significant resources to put in place a top-notch legislative team to be our industry's eyes, ears and advocates on a daily basis. However, it is necessary for the entire industry to be actively involved to have effectiveness in Washington, D.C. Lobbyists can only go so far. Ultimately, elected officials respond to constituents. As we enter a critical point in the legislative calendar, it is more important than ever before that each of us recommit ourselves to make certain we do everything possible to ensure our unified voice is heard on Capitol Hill.

Please make plans to attend the upcoming NBB board meeting June 18-20, and begin scheduling meetings today with your representative and senators in coordination with the NBB's Washington, D.C., office. The next three months will pose several opportunities to test our good timing. Bold, well-placed action over the next three months may mean everything to the future of the biodiesel industry. Will you answer the call?

Joe Jobe
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