National Biodiesel Board Spokesman Michael Frohlich says board officials met with the Senate Ag Committee Chairman Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., in hopes of finding a way to renew the expired dollar-per-gallon blender's credit past this year. The credit expired in December and the Senate has failed twice so far to free up and pass a tax extenders bill that renews the biodiesel credit for this year. Lincoln said she supports a measure that would extend five years a production credit for biodiesel and would make a push for that in possible energy legislation that is forthcoming.
Should Democrats fail in their newest attempt to pick up the handful of Republicans and moderate Democrats needed to reach the key 60 votes, Frohlich says leadership could start to break the bill apart, which could mean separate votes or they may simply move on as Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has been talking about taking up energy legislation in July.
And that bill could be key to resolving the biodiesel issue and maybe other energy tax breaks like ethanol, whose credits also expire at the end of this year.
"This is the first possible legislative vehicle that we could put it in," Frohlich said. "We are cautiously optimistic that it can continue to come back to the well to find a negotiating point to reach an agreement to get those 60 votes to move forward."
But ironically that same bill may include a cap and trade climate change measure, which has been strongly opposed by most of agriculture for increasing the cost of fuel and fertilizer.