Policy Issue

By Ron Kotrba | September 20, 2011

Sometimes an issue of the magazine comes together in such a harmony that it amazes even me, the editor who develops the monthly theme, assigns the articles and solicits column contributions. This is one of those issues, and its focus is on one of the hottest, most up-in-the-air topics right now: biorefining policy.
This is a very uncertain time in the policy arena. Rising national debt, the development of a super committee to do what Congress has failed to do, pay-go rules, changing appetite for biofuel subsidies in Congress with an administration whose directives favor development and funding of advanced biorefineries to produce fungible drop-in biofuels, and a contentious presidential election in 2012 altogether are making the passing of tax incentives and biorefining policy very difficult right now.

In this issue, our Biorefining Magazine editors and contributors cover it all. We bring you featured articles on what the future of biorefining policy appears to be, with comment from industry insiders who know better than anyone what the coming months and years may hold; government programs that have worked well, despite all the negativity that surrounds the federal political landscape right now; and regulations that must be revisited as biorefining technology and fuel products have developed faster than the regulations under which their uses are governed. In Michael McAdams’ monthly column, he discusses the administration’s plan to help build out the biorefining industry with funding and commitment from the U.S. DOE, the USDA and the U.S. Navy, and how the legislative branch ties into this executive directive. Attorney Paul Craane gives us a Legal Perspective article on changes taking place within the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and how although the office is funded by user fees—not taxpayer dollars—it is not allowed to spend every dollar it collects and is still subject to congressional oversight. Finally, Sherry Jean Larson with Christianson & Associates authors the Talking Point this month on expiring tax deductions that biofuel plant owners should cash in on before Dec. 31.

Thank you to the editors and contributors for highly relevant, cohesive material in this issue on policy.

Author: Ron Kotrba
Editor, Biorefining Magazine