American Biogas Council pushing for support on biogas legislation

By Lisa Gibson | August 25, 2011

The Waste-to-Energy Technology Act of 2011 (H.R. 66) would provide a 30 percent tax credit to eligible waste-to-energy facilities using municipal solid waste or sewage sludge. With the potential boost it would give to the biogas industry, the American Biogas Council is lobbying for support.

“Certainly, the biogas industry can use both of those feedstocks,” said Patrick Serfass, executive director of the American Biogas Council. The group is circulating a letter template to be completed by supporters and sent to members of Congress, urging them to co-sponsor the bill. “The use of these organic wastes as feedstocks to produce renewable energy would divert waste which would normally be placed in a landfill, thereby avoiding the uncontrolled emission of methane gas and extending the life of the landfill,” the letter states.

The legislation was introduced by Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, and passed to the House Committee on Ways and Means. The bill currently has five democratic co-sponsors—Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., Rush Holt, D-N.J., John Lewis, D-Ga., Bradley Miller, D-N.C., and Albio Sires, D-N.J.—and amends the internal revenue code to provide the credit.

“We’ve received more emails and questions related to this legislation than we have any other legislation,” Serfass said. Inquiries are coming in from a number of parties, namely municipalities looking to install anaerobic digesters to take advantage of the credit the bill would implement. “The main benefit to the biogas industry is through anaerobic digestion,” he said.

The legislation does, however, specify the exclusion of certain landfill facilities from its definition of qualified waste-to-energy property. It was in the interest of Doggett’s constituents that it be written that way, according to Serfass, who added that it is still beneficial to many of the American Biogas Council’s members.

“It does help a large sector of the biogas industry, and doesn’t hurt it,” he said.