Energy Bill Passes with Expanded RFS

John Davis

The U.S. House has passed the Energy Independence and Security Act (H.R. 6) by a vote of 235 to 181. The measure expands the Renewable Fuel Standard by seven times to 36 billion gallons a year by 2022… with 21 billion gallons of ethanol coming from cellulosic feedstocks, such as wood scraps… and requiring that 500 million gallons of biodiesel and biomass-based diesel fuel be blended into the diesel pool in 2009, gradually ramping up to one billion gallons by 2012.

The bill also extends the biodiesel tax incentive through the end of 2010. The incentive helps make biodiesel competitive with petroleum diesel fuel. It will also close the “splash and dash” loophole, ensuring that foreign-produced biodiesel cannot be transshipped through the U.S. just to claim the biodiesel tax incentive.

The news is welcomed by the National Biodiesel Board and the Renewable Fuels Association:

nbb-logo.jpg“This legislation is an all-around win for achieving America’s energy and environmental goals,” said Joe Jobe, NBB CEO. “We appreciate the House’s willingness to support the U.S. biodiesel industry and the important role biodiesel will play in reducing our dependence on foreign oil and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

rfa-logo.gifCommending those supporting this shift in energy policy direction in this country, Renewable Fuels Association President Bob Dinneen issued the following statement:

“The House of Representatives took an important step forward today in ensuring a stronger and more sustainable energy and environmental future for this country. This bill recognizes the critical importance of diversifying our nation’s motor fuel supply by increasing the use of renewable fuels like ethanol.

“Importantly, the renewable fuels provisions of this bill take a pragmatic approach to ensuring that the promise of advanced biofuels like cellulosic ethanol is realized. By requiring that nearly two-thirds of the new 36 billion gallon goal must come from advanced biofuels, House leaders have provided the necessary market to foster the continued investment and development of the cellulosic arm of the U.S. ethanol industry.

The measure is paid for by $21 billion in new taxes, mostly on oil companies… which, according to this story in the International Herald Tribune, could cause trouble in the U.S. Senate:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he will try to bring it up Friday. Senate Republicans said they will try to strip out the new oil taxes and a requirement that utilities generate more electricity from windmills, solar panels and other renewable sources.

“I don’t think anybody can predict what will happen in the Senate,” (Speaker of the House Nancy) Pelosi conceded after the vote, but added confidently — and with a hint of possible further compromise: “We will have a bill.”

The White House has promised to veto the bill if the House version passes the Senate.

Biodiesel, Ethanol, Government, Legislation, News, Solar, Wind