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Senate hearing held on alternative energy tax incentives

By Ron Kotrba | December 14, 2011

As many key biofuel tax incentives near their expiration at the end of this year, several biofuel organizations and companies submitted written or verbal testimony on Capitol Hill today to the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Energy, Natural Resources and Infrastructure, for a hearing titled “Alternative Energy Tax Incentives.” Among them included submissions from the Biotechnology Industry Organization, Novozymes and the National Biodiesel Board.

Brent Erickson, executive vice president of BIO’s Industrial & Environmental Section, stated, “We are at a key inflection point and advanced biofuels, renewable chemicals and biobased products have great potential to significantly increase this nation’s energy and national security, while creating thousands of well-paying U.S. jobs. In fact, advanced biofuels production could add 807,000 jobs and reduce U.S. petroleum imports by nearly $70 billion by 2022.”

Global enzyme maker Novozymes, which supplies enzymes to the first- and second-generation biofuels industries, submitted written testimony that argued for the immediate and long-term extension of the Cellulosic Biofuels Producer Tax Credit and the Special Depreciation Allowance for Cellulosic Biofuel Plant Property.

“Despite a level of uncertainty for alternative energy policy—and an oil and gas industry that is able to count on their tax incentives and policies—the biofuels industry has accomplished significant advancements and innovations,” said Adam Monroe, President of Novozymes North America. “If we have been able to achieve so much in so short a time with current uncertainties, imagine what we could do with more stability.”

Novozymes also argued for the enactment of Senator Debbie Stabenow’s bill, S. 1764, which explicitly includes biobased product manufacturing projects to the extension of the Section 48C tax credit for qualifying advanced energy manufacturing. Domestic manufacturing of biobased products will provide the same economic, energy and national security and job growth benefits as advanced biofuels.

Representatives of the U.S. biodiesel industry urged passage of a seamless extension of the $1 per gallon biodiesel tax incentive to avoid putting thousands of jobs at risk. Paul Soanes, president and CEO of Texas-based Renewable Biofuels Inc., said in his testimony, “Like the rest of the industry, RBF has seen a tremendous increase in demand for its product during 2011. We are running our facility harder than ever. But stable, long-term federal incentives are necessary for this industry to continue to grow."

Bipartisan legislation has been introduced in the House and Senate to extend the biodiesel tax credit for three years. 

 

 

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