Several biofuel tax incentives will expire at the end of the year, including the $1 per gallon biodiesel blender credit. Congress is gridlocked. A super committee has been tasked with getting the debt ceiling and budget deficit under control. Understandably, those in the biodiesel industry must be wondering what the organization that represents them on Capitol Hill, the National Biodiesel Board, can do, or is doing, to secure a favorable policy landscape for biodiesel well into the future.
After interviewing Joe Jobe, CEO of the NBB, and Anne Steckel, the NBB’s new vice president of federal affairs, I wrote a story, “The Uncertain Tomorrow,” that covers this timely topic as the year heads toward its sunset. There are several bills out there that aim to extend or alter the biodiesel incentive, but they are going nowhere fast. Will any legislation get through Congress in the next month or two? And, if so, could an extenders bill be attached? While those in the industry give me mixed opinions on whether the industry would be better off with or without the credit, the NBB leadership believes the tax credit is essential to the livelihood of its members. Here’s why.
When asked what NBB’s No. 1 policy priority is today, neither Jobe nor Steckel said it’s extension of the biodiesel tax credit. Instead, they say their focus is on upholding and defending the implementation of RFS2 and its biomass-based diesel carve-out—and the best method to do this is through extension of the tax credit. So how are they working to do this? “NBB members have an incredible team of lobbyists and consultants who keep them plugged in on Capitol Hill and in the executive branch,” says Jobe. “Along with a strong in-house staff, our team includes three lobbying firms that specialize in energy, tax and agriculture issues, as well as a strong legal team. We also have a legal team that leads our litigation efforts defending against challenges to the RFS2, and regulatory and trade teams.” Steckel adds, “This is a historically difficult fiscal environment, and getting anything through Congress will be a real challenge. That said, it is certainly not time to throw in the towel, and I don’t think it would be time to give up next year either if Congress allows it to lapse in December.” Check out the full story on page 42. And contact your representatives and let them know what your position is.