Farm state Senators and biodiesel producers charge uncertain federal policies are hurting biodiesel jobs and production. The senators joined with the National Biodiesel Board this week to argue weak and uncertain federal policies are taking a toll on the biodiesel industry. The EPA’s proposed rollback of the Renewable Fuel Standard was Exhibit A.
Senator Joe Donnelly of Indiana said keeping RFS intact should be an easy decision.
“When you look at the benefits you look at the environmental benefits, the jobs created,” he said. “In Indiana we have 5 biodiesel operations and 13 ethanol operations, all jobs that have been created because of this opportunity, and maybe more important than all of that are the national security implications of this. So to discourage the very thing we’ve been encouraging all along, that these plants were built on, seems to be very, very shortsighted.”
He went on to say that interested parties must continue to stand up and fight for the RFS.
The lawmakers released an NBB survey on the proposal’s impact. North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp cited some of the survey’s alarming findings.
“Nearly 80 percent of United States biodiesel producers have scaled back production this year, and almost 6 in 10 have idled production altogether. Two-thirds of the producers said they have already reduced or anticipate reducing their workforce as a result of this turn-down.”
The fate of the biodiesel tax credit that expired again last December is another concern. It is included in a tax extenders bill the Senate is now debating. Number two Senate Democrat Dick Durbin from Illinois says get that bill done.
Some farm state lawmakers argue biofuels demand is driving up the cost of animal feed – and several Governors in 2011 and 2012 unsuccessfully sought EPA RFS-waivers. USDA Chief Economist Joe Glauber recently told House ag lawmakers that waivers during periods of high grain prices would not have meant a gallon less ethanol produced. Glauber pointed out gasoline blenders need ethanol to enhance octane.
The oil industry has fought the RFS with an expensive ad campaign – arguing the nation lacks the vehicles and pumps needed to use biofuels and exceed the so-called blend wall charges biofuels producers counter are bogus and meant to hide Big Oil’s thirst for even bigger profits.
Heitkamp says biodiesel has an incredible success story to tell – but instead of promoting its success – federal policies are dragging farmers and producers down. She promises to continue to push on EPA and Congress to implement policies that stand up for farmers and producers.
ASA Pleased with Senators’ Support
The American Soybean Association appreciates and echoes the sentiments from the Senators supporting biodiesel – according to ASA President Ray Gaesser. ASA calls to attention the positive impacts the RFS and Biodiesel Tax Credit have on the production of biodiesel – Gaesser says – which benefits farmers, rural communities, the U.S. economy, consumers and the environment. He says the biodiesel industry is a significant and growing market for the soybeans he and his fellow soybean farmers produce. So many in Congress and the administration talk about exploring all options in the nation’s quest for energy independence – yet Gaesser says they are hampering those viable solutions created by farmers here at home. He says the soy industry will continue to pursue its goal of establishing biodiesel as the go-to source for clean, domestic renewable energy.
Source: NAFB News Service