Letter urges extension of 3 biofuel-related tax credits

By Erin Voegele | June 04, 2019

Reps. Abby Finkenauer, D-Iowa, and Josh Harder, D-Calif., authored a letter June 3 urging the House Ways and Means Committee to extend, and retroactively apply, several expired biofuel tax credits. The letter was signed by 17 additional members of the House.

The letter specifically addresses the expired second-generation biofuel production tax credit, the special depreciation allowance for second-generation biofuel plant property, and the alternative fuel vehicle refueling property credit. It urges the committee to take timely action to renew and retroactively extend the three tax credits. “Steady policy now will help stabilize these capital intensive, higher-risk technology projects, and allow Congress further time to plan for longer-term policy around alternative fuels and infrastructure,” the representatives wrote.

The three credits were retroactively extended last year for 2017, but have not yet been extended for 2018 or thereafter. “Businesses thrive on the ability to plan and it is especially important that we provide certainty for innovative industries to continue to grow, contribute to economic development in rural and urban America, and to the deployment and use of low-carbon fuels,” they wrote. “The current situation is jeopardizing significant private investment, agricultural supply chains, jobs, and the use of newly approved technologies.”

The letter notes that second-generation biofuel producers are helping to develop some of the most innovative fuels in the world. The fuels they produce help meet the requirements of the Renewable Fuel Standard while providing new sources of revenue for famers and communities and diversifying the nation’s fuel supply. The letter also stresses that the refueling property credit supports good paying jobs and consumer choices on both vehicles and fuel use.

Within the letter, the representatives urge the committee to retroactively extend the three credits for 2018, “recognizing that companies made investment decisions expecting this issue to be resolved in the previous Congress with a long-term plan in place for future investment decisions.”

The letter stresses that a continued delay in extending the credits “jeopardizes the biofuels industry contributions to our nation’s energy security, economy, and environment.”

“With tax filing season underway for 2018 these producers are at risk of losing a critical incentive they had counted on and are unable to plan for 2019 in order to expand production and hire new workers because they do not know what their tax liability will be next year,” the letter continues.

The Biotechnology Innovation Organization has spoken out in support of the letter. “Allowing these important biofuel tax credits to expire has slowed the growth of an industry that is key to advancing American energy sustainability and improving our environment. It’s time for Congress to extend, and retroactively apply, these tax credits so we can bring certainty to the U.S. businesses working to develop advanced and cellulosic biofuels,” said Stephanie Batchelor, acting executive vice president of BIO’s industrial and environmental section. “These are the 21st-century innovations that will play a significant role in reducing transportation’s harmful greenhouse gas emissions while providing new revenue streams for agricultural producers and rural communities across America. BIO thanks the members of Congress who have signed this letter and are acknowledging industrial biotechnology’s potential to mitigate climate change.”

In addition to Finkenauer and Harder, the latter was signed by Reps. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa; Anthony Brindisi, D-N.Y.; Cheri Bustos, D-Ill.; Salud Carbajal, D-Calif.; Jim Costa, D-Calif.; TJ Cox, D-Calif.; Angie Craig, D-Minn.; Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz.; Deb Haaland, D-N.M.; Anne McLane Kuster, D-N.H.; Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa; Stephen F. Lynch, D-Mass.; Jerry McNerney, D-Calif.; Chris Pappas, D-N.H.; Collin Peterson, D-Minn.; Eric Swalwell, D-Calif.; and Filemon Vela, D-Texas.

A full copy of the letter can be downloaded from Finkenauer’s website.