The biodiesel tax credit expired more than 270 days ago and the National Biodiesel Board has been working hard to see it reinstated. They've seen legislation to extend the credit delayed all year.
NBB Director of Federal Communications Michael Frohlich says the credit itself is not a problem for lawmakers, but it's continually been added to contentious pieces of legislation. He says the extension also fell victim to health care. He says health care reform became the sole focus of the Senate at the end of 2009 and time simply ran out on the biodiesel tax credit. He says it's devastated the biodiesel industry with the loss of somewhere between 12,000 and 14,000 jobs. Frohlich says the biggest problem is the uncertainty of whether or not the tax credit will be reinstated.
Frohlich says there's no denying the impact the credit had on the expansion of the biodiesel industry, but also on the Federal Treasury.
"It generated a net positive for the Federal Treasury and for state, local and federal government through the tax on the fuel at sale," Frohlich said. "This has been one of the most effective pieces of tax legislation to influence energy policy. In 2004 we produced 25 million gallons of biodiesel. The tax credit came in 2005 and by 2008 we were producing 690 million gallons."
Frohlich says NBB will continue to be in contact with lawmakers and their staffs during the election season and will not let them forget about it and keep it high on their priority list so it can be dealt with during the lame duck.
Frohlich says they'd like to see legislation put in place that extends the biodiesel tax credit for five years and alters it from a blender's credit to a producer's credit.