Vilsack's Blessing

USDA secretary continues to support biodiesel
By Bryan Sims | November 17, 2010
Clearly the absence of a tax credit has created an economic blow to the biodiesel industry, causing a dramatic drop-off in production volume, job loss and an overwhelming shadow of uncertainty. In light of its struggles, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack didn't turn a blind eye on this glaring fact when he addressed those concerns during a speech in October to the National Press Club in Washington.

In his presentation, Vilsack highlighted how the lapsed tax credit has severely undercut jobs, adding that he supports a renewed incentive for producers. Vilsack said, "We have already seen what happens when incentives are withheld too quickly. The lapse of the biodiesel tax credit cost the industry jobs-nearly 12,000 jobs were lost as production was cut in half once the credit lapsed, according to industry estimates-and these are jobs we can't afford to lose. But, tax credits, by themselves, are not enough. Our effort must include identifying additional feedstocks available throughout the country while discovering more efficient production processes. Research and development must intensify."

Manning Feraci, vice president of federal affairs for the National Biodiesel Board, says, "We look forward to collaboratively working with the USDA to develop new and existing lipid sources that can be used to produce biodiesel. The U.S. biodiesel industry has been, and will continue, working with a broad range of stakeholders to urge Congress to seamlessly extend the biodiesel tax incentive when it reconvenes after the elections for the lame-duck session."
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