Stabenow amendment to extend biodiesel tax credit voted down

By Erin Voegele | March 13, 2012

Legislation that would have extended the biodiesel tax incentive through the end of the year was voted down by the U.S. Senate this afternoon. The amendment to the Surface Transportation Bill, S. 1813, was sponsored by Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. Only 49 senators voted in favor of the amendment. A total of 60 ayes were needed for the measure to be added to the bill.

 “This is another missed opportunity for Congress to do something to boost the economy,” said Anne Steckel, the National Biodiesel Board’s vice president of federal affairs. “We're talking about thousands of jobs across the country that are affected by this, and the very real possibility that biodiesel plants will go out of business. It's also a missed opportunity for Congress to do something about these oil price spikes by diversifying our fuel supplies and reducing our exposure to the global petroleum markets.”

In addition to extending the biodiesel tax credit, the amendment would have added cultivated algae, cyanobacteria and lemna to the list of qualified feedstocks for the purpose of the cellulosic biofuel producer credit. It would have also extended the cellulosic biofuel producer credit through the end of 2013.

The $1 per gallon biodiesel tax credit expired on Dec. 31. According to the NBB, reinstatement of the credit is necessary, as it helped the biodiesel industry achieve record production last year and helps support more than 39,000 jobs.

Stabenow has introduced several measures in recent months that aim to benefit those in the biorefining industry. She is also sponsoring legislation that would help prevent tax increases on clean energy innovators. That bill would extend the 30 percent 48C Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit, which expired in 2010. Those who could claim the credit include producers of cellulosic biofuels.

Another initiative sponsored by Stabenow is the “Grow it Here, Make it Here” initiative, which would create new tax breaks for companies that invest in new facilities or purchase equipment to manufacture biobased products. The plan aims to increase access to capital for manufacturers of biobased products while improving the marketing of biobased producers and spurring the commercialization of new agricultural innovations that create jobs. 


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