BIO asks Congress to extend biofuel tax incentives

By Erin Voegele | October 21, 2016

On Oct. 18, the Biotechnology Industry Organization sent a letter to several congressional leaders calling for the extension of renewable energy tax credits that are currently set to expire at the end of the year.

The letter, addressed to Reps. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc.; Kevin Brady, R-Texas; Sander Levin, D-Mich; Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; and Sens. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.; Harry Reid, R-Nev., Orrin Hatch, R-Utah; and Ron Wyden, D-Ore, urges a multi-year extension of a variety of biofuel-related tax credits, including the second generation biofuel producer tax credit, the special depreciation allowance for second generation biofuel plant property, the biodiesel and renewable diesel fuels credit and the alternative fuel vehicle refueling property credit.

Within the letter, BIO stresses ensuring further growth in the advanced biofuels industry will require additional support and greater policy certainty moving forward. BIO also points out that the advanced and cellulosic biofuel industries have invested billions of dollars to build first-of-kind demonstration- and commercial-scale facilities across the nation since 2009.

According to BIO, the U.S. biofuels industry creates $184.5 billion of economic output, 852,056 jobs, $46.2 billion in wages, and $14.5 billion in taxes each year. “With the extension of the suite of advanced biofuel tax incentives, the industry will be able to access the long-term investment necessary for advanced biofuels to grow,” said BIO in the letter. “However, without the certainty of a long term extension of these incentives, the ability to raise capital to expand advanced biofuel production will be difficult.”

The letter also points to the environmental benefits of biofuels, noting that since 2005 biofuels have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than 589 million metric tons while displacing nearly 1.9 billion barrels of foreign oil. “Stimulating the growth of advanced and cellulosic biofuels with a lower GHG emission profile will spur an even greater reduction of emissions and the use of foreign oil,” BIO added.

Within the letter, BIO noted that while it is aware the U.S. currently faces financial constraints, our nation’s global competitors are offering tax incentives for advanced biofuels and attracting the construction of new facilities. “As such, as Congress examines the extension of tax provisions before the end of the year, we hope members recognize the value of the advanced biofuels industry to our nation’s energy security, economy, and environment,” BIO said.

A full copy of the letter can be downloaded from the BIO website.