Two Iowans were elected to the National Biodiesel Board last week, and will play a key role in guiding the national growth of renewable, American-made biodiesel. Members of the National Biodiesel Board elected biodiesel producer Chad Stone and soybean farmer Ron Heck to fill two of eight open board spots. The election took place during the NBB annual fall meeting in Washington, D.C.
Stone is chairman of the Iowa Biodiesel Board. He is employed as chief financial officer at the Ames-based Renewable Energy Group, where he provides long-range strategic leadership, including goals and policies for REG, a leading biodiesel producer. Heck serves as treasurer of the Iowa Biodiesel Board, representing the Iowa Soybean Association on the board. He's been an ISA member since 1975 and has served in state and national ag leadership roles. Heck farms near Perry in west central Iowa.
Helps keep Iowa at the forefront of national energy issues
"The elections of these two IBB board members to the national biodiesel board are another validation of Iowa as a hub of renewable energy," says Grant Kimberley, executive director of the Iowa Biodiesel Board. "Iowa's farmers and biodiesel producers are innovators in this emerging energy industry, and they stay actively engaged in policy discussions. We should be proud that Iowans represent us at the national level, leading the way toward sustainable energy independence."
Iowa soybean farmer Ed Ulch of Solon retired from the NBB board last week after 11 years of service. His colleagues hailed him as a strong leader during the formidable years of biodiesel's development.
In 2014, Iowa's 13 biodiesel plants produced more than a quarter billion gallons of biodiesel, supporting jobs and economic development across the state while replacing foreign oil and diversifying the nation's fuel supply. The National Biodiesel Board is made up of 15 governing board members, including four executive officers. The IBB is the state trade association representing the biodiesel industry.
Iowans "hit Capitol Hill" urging biodiesel tax incentive reform
Members of the Iowa Biodiesel Board were also in Washington, D.C. on November 17 for another reason. They were urging Iowa's Congressional delegation to extend the incentive for biodiesel for two years, through 2016. They are asking Congress for a restructuring of the $1-per-gallon credit for biodiesel and renewable diesel.
Grant Kimberley, executive director of the Iowa Biodiesel Board, issued the following statement: "Nowhere is the success of the tax credit more evident than in Iowa. Our state's 13 plants produced more than a quarter of a billion gallons of biodiesel last year, supporting jobs and economic development while replacing foreign oil and diversifying our fuel supply. The federal tax incentive has played a key role in enabling these plants to stay operating and profitable, benefiting all levels of our economy."
IBB members ask Congress to extend incentive for two years
He adds, "Yet Congress has put our state's biodiesel producers in the unusual position of becoming high-stakes gamblers with their business decisions for the last several years. Congress has allowed the tax incentive to lapse four times in the past six years, including this year. Even though Congress has reinstated it retroactively each time, this unpredictable approach is no way for an industry to run.
"In addition to extending the current $- per-gallon tax credit for biodiesel for 2015 and through 2016, our industry leaders are asking Congress to restructure the incentive from a blender's credit to a producer's credit," says Kimberley. "This is critical because the current structure allows foreign biodiesel producers to take advantage of the credit if their fuel is blended in the U.S."
"It's rational that we use our taxpayer money to stimulate domestic energy growth, like the impressive renewable energy industry Iowa has built, rather than subsidizing foreign producers with our tax dollars. That obviously wasn't the intent of Congress. Once again, we are grateful to Sen. Chuck Grassley for his leadership on this important energy issue."
Bill in Congress would correct loophole in the existing program
Sen. Grassley, R-Iowa, has sponsored a bill that would correct the loophole in the existing program. According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, this reform would save U.S. taxpayers $90 million.
The Iowa farmers and biodiesel producers who visited Washington D.C. met with the entire Iowa delegation: Sen. Grassley (R), Sen. Joni Ernst (R), Rep. Rod Blum (R), Rep. David Young (R), Rep. Dave Loebsack (D), and Rep. Steve King (R).
Biodiesel is made from a variety of resources including soybean oil, recycled cooking oil and animal fats. It is the first EPA-designated Advanced Biofuel to reach commercial-scale production nationwide. The Iowa Biodiesel Board is a state trade association representing the biodiesel industry.