Grim tax situation idles another Iowa plant

By Ron Kotrba | March 23, 2010
Posted April 15, 2010

The prolonged absence of the federal biodiesel tax credit continues to take its toll on the industry as another Iowa plant, this time the 30 MMgy Western Iowa Energy LLC in Wall Lake, slows production to "warm idle" status on April 15-tax day ironically.

"Due to the continued lapse of the biodiesel tax credit, Western Iowa Energy continues to suffer from significantly limited sales and reduced sales forecasts," wrote Western Iowa Energy's board president, Bill Horan, in a letter distributed to the plant's employees and industry stakeholders. "Due to these market conditions, we have made the difficult decision to idle our facility (warm idle). Today we are laying off 15 full-time employees. This represents more than 50 percent of our staff."

Horan said Western Iowa Energy will retain 13 full-time employees on site to ensure that plant safety is not compromised, and to meet limited customer needs. "These layoffs are defined as a temporary, unpaid absence from work with a currently unknown return date," wrote Horan. "We will continue to evaluate the situation on a weekly basis based on positive or negative changes in the regulatory and commercial environment in which we operate."

"Congress' inattention to the needs of their constituency, in the form of failure to address the biodiesel blender tax credit, continues to impact the biodiesel industry in a negative manner," said Larry Breeding, Western Iowa Energy general manager, in an email. "We are hopeful that our lawmakers will choose to address this issue quickly so that we can get these citizens of Iowa back to work and productive once again."
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