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Senators introduce biogas tax incentive legislation

By Erin Voegele
Web exclusive posted Jan. 28, 2009, at 3:23 p.m. CST

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators introduced legislation Jan. 22 to promote the development of biogas. Under the Biogas Production Incentive Act of 2009, producers would receive a tax credit of $4.27 for every million British thermal units of produced biogas.

Supporters of the legislation say more production of biogas could lead to more jobs, a cleaner environment, and a boon for rural communities. Environmental benefits of biogas production include reduced carbon dioxide and methane emissions, as well as improved water quality through better manure management.

"This bill puts an existing byproduct to a productive use," said Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, in a press release regarding the act. "Ohio's strength in agriculture along with its growing renewable energy industry positions us be a leader in the production of renewable natural gas. By encouraging its production, we can create jobs, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and improve the environment."

According to information cited in the release issued by Sen. Brown's office, a report by the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee estimates that 1.37 billion tons of solid animal waste is produced in the U.S. each year. According to the U.S. DOE, if the U.S. used half of its waste biomass to produce biogas, the production of biogas could replace about 5 percent of the natural gas currently being used, while also reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 45 million to 70 million metric tons annually.

The Biogas Production Incentive Act of 2009, or S.306, is sponsored by Sen. Nelson E. Benjamin, D-Neb. Co-sponsors of the legislation include: Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio; Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb.; Sen. John Thune, R-S.D.; Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho; Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.; and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. Following its Jan. 22 introduction, the bill was referred to the Senate Finance Committee.

To view a copy of S.306, visit The Library of Congress Web site.
 

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