U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (NY-D) visited New York’s only commercial biodiesel producer last month to assure them of his support for the federal tax incentive for biodiesel.
“The dollar tax incentive assures us that we are competitive with regular diesel fuel right now. The federal government subsidizes the petroleum industry as well, so if we lose our incentive, we lose our competitive advantage over the regular fuel,” said Schumer during a stop at Northern Biodiesel on February 19.
However, while Sen. Schumer supports biodiesel, he opposes corn ethanol. Informa Economics reports that Schumer sent a letter to a constituent outlining his concerns, saying that “corn ethanol provides no environmental, economic, or security benefit over petroleum, and it raises serious ethical concerns about our obligations towards our neighbors.” At the same time, Schumer does support the development of cellulosic ethanol, saying production does “have the potential to protect the environment and reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil, without putting strains on American agriculture or other countries’ food supplies.”
“Rather than pointing out the inconsistency in your ethanol and biodiesel positions, we wanted to take this opportunity to provide you with more current information about America’s ethanol industry in the hopes that you will revisit your position,” wrote plant owners John and Michael Sawyer. They are planning to contact the senator’s office to set up a tour of their 55 million gallon per year plant located in Medina, NY which was the first ethanol plant built in the northeast United States and is a member of the Renewable Fuels Association.