Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack supports the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS2), but thinks strategies to build demand are more important to biofuels than tax credits.
Vilsack made multiple appearances in Hawaii this week, including at the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) annual meeting where he addressed the membership and met with the media and had the opportunity to comment on biofuels policy.
During a press conference at AFBF on Monday, Vilsack said he believes it is important to keep the RFS2 in place for multiple reasons. “One, it provides consumer choice. We know that because we have a healthy biofuels industry that consumers are paying 90 cents to a dollar less for gas,” he said. “It’s a job creator in rural America and an opportunity to increase the bottom line for farmers, ranchers and producers. And it has helped us reduce our reliance on foreign oil, going from 60% imports to 52% in the last couple of years.” Audio from Vilsack on RFS2
A day later at the Pearl Harbor memorial to tout the increasing use of biodiesel by the military, Vilsack was asked about the expiration of the biodiesel tax credit at the end of 2011 and whether it will hurt the industry again as it did in 2010 if Congress fails to renew it. “First and foremost, our approach is to figure out ways to build demand for the product,” Vilsack responded, noting that they can use loan programs to produce more biodiesel while the commitment by the Navy to increase use of biofuel will help increase demand. “So, I don’t think that we need to rely solely on tax credits.” Audio from Vilsack on Biodiesel Tax Credit