McAdams: 'Show me the gallons'

By Ron Kotrba | May 19, 2010
Posted June 15, 2010

"Show me the gallons," said Michael McAdams, president of the Advanced Biofuels Association and keynote speaker at the Advanced Biofuels Workshop, which took place June 14 in St. Louis as a co-located event at the 26th International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo. McAdams said he was bringing the audience into the "no spin zone" and discussed the troubling issues regarding the lapsed biodiesel and other tax credits that are crippling America's drive toward energy independence.

"It's not just tax credits that Congress is dealing with," he said. Health care, oil spill liability, offshore drilling and a number of other pressing issues are occupying Congress' time. "You pick them and I work with them," McAdams said. "I protect you from those you elect." He then observed that he wasn't sure how the catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was ever going to get cleaned up because BP is so busy coming to Washington for hearings.

McAdams' consistency in his message over the years is unwavering, pushing for technology and feedstock neutrality and tax parity in the biofuels sector. The various biofuels industries need to work together, he said, but the way things are typically done tend to be in "siloed" form.

He forewarned of economic leavening and asked "how much food is in the trough" regarding the tax extenders package that has been going back and forth between the House of Representatives and the Senate-when it's not being ignored entirely.

"The House is tired of taking the Senate's position," said McAdams, indicating that the internal power struggle on the Hill is debilitating progress on all fronts.

"What is doable in terms of tax policy? How do we get across this valley of death?" McAdams asked.

He mentioned there are four bills floating around Congress now seeking to change cellulosic credit; and reminded everyone that there is no longer a 50 cent credit for black liquor, a byproduct of the pulp and paper mills that can be burned for energy.

"There's no parity across the divisions-and then one tax credit is for a product, another is for a process," McAdams said with cynicism, reemphasizing that the tax code needs to be technology neutral. "Now the tax codes look like they were all brought to you by special interests," he said.

Of the nearly $800 billion shelled out in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, only $564 million went to advanced biofuels projects; and only $80 million toward advanced biofuels research. McAdams asked, "Did you get your fair share?"
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