The Keystone XL pipeline is drawing significant public attention these days. But as a leading producer of renewable energy, Iowa should be concerned about another debate—one that threatens the future of the biodiesel industry. "With so much attention focused on the proposed pipeline and the potential for up to 20,000 temporary construction jobs, we're losing focus on the 39,000 existing green collar jobs that are under fire by critics of the renewable fuels standard," says Randy Olson.
He is executive director of the Iowa Biodiesel Board, which is located in the offices of the Iowa Soybean Association in Ankeny. "Amidst the chatter about the Keystone pipeline, we should remind our leaders in Congress that we must protect and expand the renewable fuels standard, and grow our own supply of fuel in the form of sustainable biodiesel," says Olson.
Farmers are urged to call or email members of Congress—House Members and Senators
Now is a critical time for two biodiesel policy priorities. The American Soybean Association is asking famers to contact their Members of Congress (House Member and Senators). ASA asks that you: 1) urge the congressmen and senators to support the retroactive reinstatement of the biodiesel tax credit; and 2) urge them to contact Obama Administration officials (see list below) in support of the EPA's proposed increase in Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) volume requirements for biomass-based diesel for 2013.
Biodiesel tax credit retroactive reinstatement: The biodiesel tax credit lapsed on Dec. 31, 2011. Retroactive extension of the biodiesel credit is a top priority for the American Soybean Association for continued development of the biodiesel industry. ASA urges enactment of a tax extenders package as soon as possible, including as part of the payroll tax relief package currently being negotiated by a Senate-House Conference Committee.
In December Congress passed a short term extension of the payroll tax reduction. That extension expires on February 29, 2012 and a formal House-Senate Conference Committee has been convened to negotiate a longer-term extension. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and other members have called for the Conference Committee to add the expired tax provisions, including the biodiesel tax credit, to the package.
Request: Contact your House Member to express the importance of this issue to soybean farmers, and urge your Representative to contact the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Ways & Means Committee, along with House leadership, in support of inclusion of the biodiesel tax credit in the package being negotiated on the payroll tax cut extension. Similarly, contact your Senators to urge your Senators to contact the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, along with Senate leadership, in support of inclusion of the biodiesel tax credit in the package. If you don't have the telephone numbers of your Senators or Representative, you can call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected to their office.
Push for a 1.28 billion gallon biomass-based diesel volume requirement for 2013
The Administration is expected to make a decision soon on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) volume increase for biodiesel for 2013. The EPA had initially proposed in June 2011 to raise the requirement from 1 billion gallons in 2012 to 1.28 billion gallons in 2013. In December, the EPA and the Office of Management & Budget (OMB) postponed making a decision on the 2013 volume requirement and indicated that they intend to make a final decision in the very near future.
In 2011, the U.S. biodiesel industry actually produced 1.1 billion gallons, 300 million gallons more than the 800 million gallon RFS2 volume requirement for 2011. The RFS2 volume requirement for 2012 is 1.0 billion gallons. Growth of the program beyond 1.0 billion gallons in 2013 is an important market opportunity for soy biodiesel. ASA and the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) strongly support the 1.28 billion gallon level for 2013.
Biodiesel is our nation's only commercially available, domestically produced advanced biofuel
Biodiesel is the only Advanced Biofuel in the U.S. today that is produced on a commercial-scale across the country. It is creating jobs, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and bolstering energy security, and the industry demonstrated in 2011 that it can reach the production targets. The Biomass-based Diesel (biodiesel) program is a section of the RFS2 that is working precisely as intended. The record production of roughly 1.1 billion gallons in 2011 supported over 50,000 jobs across the country while displacing imported diesel with a clean, American-made fuel. Increasing the volumes to 1.28 billion gallons would support approximately 74,000 jobs. It also served as an important source of use for U.S. soybean oil made from U.S. soybeans.
Request: Contact your Senators and House Member to express the importance of the RFS2 to soybean farmers, jobs, energy security, and the environment. Urge them to contact the following Administration officials in support of the 1.28 billion gallon level.
ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS TO CONTACT:
(Please contact by telephone and electronic mail):
Office of Management and Budget
Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs
Cass R. Sunstein
Eisenhower Executive Office Building
1650 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington DC 20503
Office of the White House
Office of Energy and Climate Policy
Heather R. Zichal
Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
1st Floor, West Wing
Washington DC 20500
Environmental Protection Agency
Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation
Regina A. McCarthy
Ariel Rios Federal Building
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Room 5406, Mail Code 6101 A
Washington DC 20460
US Department of Agriculture
Office of the Secretary
Jamie L. Whitten Building
1400 Independence Ave. SW
Washington DC 20250