Biodiesel Incentive Stimulates Imports

Cindy Zimmerman

Earth First
A Florida-based company is importing biodiesel from Ecuador, but some domestic producers are not very happy about it. EarthFirst Americas, Inc., announced the arrival of the first shipment of almost 268,000 gallons of biodiesel this month, which is believed to be the largest single shipment of biodiesel ever imported into the United States. This first shipment is being sold to diesel distributors and end users throughout Florida. The company is expecting to arrange importation of up to 45 million gallons during 2006, and another 100 million gallons of biodiesel in 2007. They are even holding a press conference tomorrow (Friday, November 18) in Tampa to talk about their plans.

While this is good news for increasing biodiesel demand, it kind of defeats the purpose of DOMESTIC fuels if we’re importing it! That’s the American Soybean Association’s point – especially if they get a tax break that was intended to stimulate domestic production. ASA President Bob Metz says they are “outraged” that the imports will be taking advantage of the new tax incentive for biodiesel sold in the United States. “Importing biodiesel will only subsidize foreign farmers and biodiesel producers with U.S. taxpayer dollars,” said Metz. “The Administration and Congress must act immediately to eliminate loopholes that allow foreign biodiesel from exploiting a key part of our national strategy for reducing our nation’s dependence on foreign sources of energy.” The loophole is an Internal Revenue Service decision to interpret the biodiesel tax incentive passed by Congress to allow biodiesel made from vegetable oils not specifically listed in the statute, including tropical oils such as palm oil, which are not produced in the United States.
You can listen to Bob Metz’ comments about the issue here.