Finance committee votes to extend cellulosic, biodiesel credits

By Susanne Retka Schill | August 02, 2012

Three important tax credits for biofuels were included in a bipartisan package of tax extenders included in a tax package passed Aug. 2 by the Senate finance committee, offering hope to advanced biofuel developers. The measure, of course, must pass the full Senate and the House, as well.  

The Advanced Ethanol Council applauded the finance committee leadership for including the producer tax credit for cellulosic ethanol and accelerated depreciation for cellulosic biorefineries in the package. Both tax incentives are due to expire at the end of the year.

"The advanced biofuels industry commends the Senate Finance Committee for recognizing the need to provide continuity in the advanced biofuels marketplace while Congress tackles the bigger issue of comprehensive tax reform," said Brooke Coleman, executive director of the AEC. "Congress is right to take a hard look at all tax incentives for all energy industries, including fossil fuels. And we look forward to the day when we can restore parity to the tax code when it comes to energy development. But until that day comes, it is critical to maintain stability in the marketplace for emerging industries. This strong, bipartisan vote sends a strong signal to the marketplace that Congress understands the urgent need to address these expiring credits, and we look forward to getting these incentives extended as soon as possible."

Biodiesel producers also got a boost in the bipartisan tax package that extends the now-expired biodiesel tax incentive. "This is a refreshing display of bipartisan cooperation to get this economy moving again, and we applaud Chairman Baucus and Ranking Member Hatch for their leadership," Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs for the National Biodiesel Board, said. "The biodiesel tax incentive is a proven job creator. Growth in our industry has been stagnant since the incentive expired on Dec. 31. Reinstating it will get biodiesel producers across the country back to expanding their businesses and hiring new employees, as they were doing last year with the tax incentive in place."

The biodiesel tax incentive was first implemented in 2005 and expired in 2010. After it was reinstated last year, the biodiesel industry grew rapidly and set a new production record of nearly 1.1 billion gallons, supporting more than 39,000 jobs across the country, according to the NBB. “Biodiesel is the first and only EPA-designated advanced biofuel that's produced on a commercial scale across the U.S. It is produced in nearly every state in the country and is used in existing diesel engines without modification,” the NBB said in its statement.