I spent the entire day this past Thursday in Washington D.C. lobbying my congressmen to bring their attention to matters relating to the biodiesel industry. Specifically, the biodiesel tax credit and the EPA RFS mandate limits for 2013, which is currently in jeopardy of being left at the current 1 billion gallon limit set for 2012. The problem is that we already hit the 1 billion gallon mark (and then some), and leaving it at that same level for 3 years in a row guarantees a stagnant industry that will not grow if there is not additional demand to create the incentive to increase production.
This was my first time walking around the halls of the House of Representatives and the Senators. It was pretty interesting, really. What amazed me was how easy it was to just drop in (if you didn’t have an appointment, which is preferred obviously) on your congressman and most likely at least be able to meet briefly with an aide. What amazed me further was that even after 8 years in existence, the biodiesel tax credit is still largely a mystery to many congressmen.
Without much resistance, the ethanol industry just lost their tax credit (as did the biodiesel industry, but we want ours back). The ethanol industry got their tax credit back in the Carter administration, over 30 years ago. The petroleum industry’s tax credits are largely permanent, which they’ve enjoyed for over 80 years. Yet the biodiesel tax credit is treated as if it’s a tired subject.
The biodiesel industry is still fairly young, and needs the support of the tax credit to be able to compete with the heavily subsidized petroleum industry. The tax credit for 2012 would be fairly sizable, about 1 billion dollars. However, the petroleum industry gets tax credits for refining roughly 60 billion gallons of diesel fuel in the US. So our portion of this offset is fairly small at this point.
That said, every gallon of biodiesel produced in this country means domestic jobs, domestic economics, and domestic fuel that is produced here rather than in a foreign country in the middle east where many do not like Americans. To me, that’s three very good reasons to support biodiesel with a tax credit. Want to see what happens with and without the tax credit?
There are 5 biodiesel plants in North Carolina; 4 of us were in DC this week to represent the biodiesel industry and press our issues to our congressmen. This is about jobs. This is about energy security. This is about domestic economics. The last time Congress allowed the biodiesel tax incentive to expire – in 2010 – dozens of plants closed and thousands of people lost jobs as the industry’s production plummeted to about 315 million gallons. Bipartisan legislation has been introduced in both chambers of Congress (Senate bill S.1277 and House bill H.R.2238) to extend the biodiesel tax incentive for three years.
If you think like we do, then please contact your representative and tell them to support these bills for the biodiesel tax credit. Use this site to enter your address and get your representatives and senators for your location: