Stabenow to introduce 'Grow it Here, Make it Here' initiative

By Erin Voegele | October 27, 2011

On Oct. 24, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., announced that she will introduce new legislation that aims to advance the biobased manufacturing industry. The bill, referred to as the “Grow it Here, Make it Here” initiative, would provide a 30 percent tax cut for new, expanded, or re-equipped biomanufacturing projects.

"When we grow things and make things in Michigan, we create jobs here in Michigan, said Stabenow at a press conference announcing the initiative. “With biobased manufacturing, Michigan businesses are using agriculture goods grown in Michigan to make products here in Michigan. It's a win-win for our economy. Michigan is at the forefront of biobased manufacturing, and this tax cut will help businesses who want to invest and create new jobs here in America.”

According to information released by Stabenow’s office, the biobased economy in the U.S. is valued at approximately $1.25 trillion. The statement said in Michigan alone there are more than 80 companies manufacturing biobased products, and even more using biobased components and materials in their projects. According to Stabenow, biobased manufacturing is a key sector of Michigan’s agricultural industry, which is the second largest industry in the state. The federal incentive would provide benefits to a wide variety of companies outside of Michigan as well.

While Stabenow has yet to introduce the legislation in the U.S. Senate, her office did provide Biorefining Magazine with a draft of the bill. According to that draft, titled the “Make It in America Tax Credit Act of 2011,” the legislation would extend and modify the Advanced Energy Project Credit, which currently applies to a wide variety of energy projects, including qualified projects relating to the re-equip, expansion or establishment of a manufacturing facility for the production of energy from sun, wind, geothermal, fuel cells, microturbines, renewable fuels, and many others sources.

The bill provided by Stabenow’s office aims to add qualified biobased products to this list. The legislation would define the term “qualifying biobased product” to mean any product that may be used as a petrochemical alternative, so long as the biobased content is not less than 25 percent or the minimum content level for a designated biobased item set by the USDA under its Federal Biobased Products Preferred Procurement Program. Regarding the measurement of biobased content of qualified products, the bill would stipulate that ASTM D6866 is used. Products excluded from being eligible for the tax credit include any product sold or used as food, feed, fuel or an ingredient thereof; or any product composed primarily of lignocellulosic matter that is sold or used as a paper or wood product, with a couple of specific exceptions. In effect, the legislation would expand the current 30 percent Advanced Energy Project Credit to include a project that re-equips, expands or establishes a manufacturing facility for the production of qualifying biobased products.