US biodiesel leaders remain optimistic after Trump victory

By Ron Kotrba | November 09, 2016

After a stunning landslide victory for Donald J. Trump and his campaign in what easily could be described as the most contentious presidential election in recent U.S. history, the domestic biodiesel industry remains optimistic that a new Trump administration will work to further biodiesel’s role in growing the U.S. economy.

Although last month Larry Schafer, co-founder of Playmaker Strategies LLC and a senior advisor to the National Biodiesel Board, said during Christianson & Associates’ Biofuels Financial Conference that Hillary Clinton’s positions on renewable fuels policies would be easier to predict than Trump’s, it is clear the president-elect’s support of the U.S. biodiesel industry would be consistent with his campaign promises to bring back American manufacturing jobs and—as Trump’s website states on energy policy—“make America energy-independent … and protect clean air and clean water.”

The biodiesel industry currently supports 48,000 American jobs and its reduction of tailpipe and greenhouse gas emissions is well-established by government agencies and private institutions alike. Furthermore, unlike petroleum, biodiesel’s nontoxic chemistry poses no threat to the nation’s water resources.

In addition, Trump has made it very clear his intention to cut U.S. dollars being sent overseas to aid in foreign manufacturing at the expense of U.S. jobs. This position would be consistent with reforming the $1-per-gallon biodiesel blenders tax incentive to a domestic producers incentive, which would stop U.S. tax dollars from subsidizing foreign biodiesel production through a growing volume of biodiesel and renewable diesel imports—670 million gallons last year and potentially more than 800 million gallons this year.

The National Biodiesel Board congratulated Trump and other newly elected and returning leaders, and stated it looks forward to working them to promote local jobs, energy security and clean air through a growing biodiesel market.

“Biodiesel has long been a bipartisan issue and we are confident our new Congress will continue to support a smart solution that works for America on so many levels,” said Donnell Rehagen, the newly appointed CEO of the NBB. “President-elect Trump has expressed strong support for biofuels and support for the renewable fuel standard (RFS), so we are hopeful his administration will further strengthen opportunities for America’s advanced biofuel. By the time he takes office, we hope that the EPA will have announced biodiesel volumes that more closely reflect fuel availability and current production and that the critical biodiesel tax incentive will be extended and reformed to a production credit to ensure that American jobs are not put at risk yet again due to Congress’ inaction.”

“Biodiesel is a critical piece of our nation’s ambitions for energy security, greenhouse gas reduction and economic development,” said Grant Kimberley, the executive director of the Iowa Biodiesel Board. “We welcome the opportunity to work with a new administration in the White House, and appreciate the positive statements about biodiesel that President-elect Donald Trump made on the campaign trail. We are optimistic that he will support policies imperative to the growth of biodiesel, including the federal RFS, one of the most effective policies in history to diversify America’s fuel supply. The federal tax incentive for biodiesel is also critical to help us compete against petroleum, which had more than a hundred-year start on biodiesel.”

Kimberley added that the IBB’s immediate priority is the extension and restructuring of the biodiesel tax credit. “This is vital because the current structure allows foreign biodiesel producers to take advantage of the credit if their fuel is blended in the U.S.—not the original intent of Congress,” he said. “We look forward to the time ahead as we work to secure biodiesel’s future.” 

 

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