Making the Case for Biodiesel to Obama in 90 Seconds

John Davis

Just 90 seconds … a short minute and a half … that’s the amount of time that a biodiesel advocate had to make the case for the green fuel to the President of the United States.

When Pres. Obama made the trip to Iowa yesterday to talk about wind turbines, Brad Albin, Vice President at Renewable Energy Group and Secretary of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, pressed upon the President the urgency of the need for the reinstatement and retroactivity of the biodiesel tax credit:

“I shook his hand and told him that we’re losing jobs as we stand here, which seemed to get his attention,” explained Albin, who had been sitting in the second row. “I told him about plants idling and that more than 90 percent of manufacturing staff at U.S. biodiesel plants have been laid off as a result of the tax credit lapse.”

Obama acknowledged his biodiesel tax credit updates are coming through USDA Secretary Vilsack. The President continued to listen as I explained that for 20 years Americans have worked to meet the challenge of increasing energy independence; that farmers and families have invested billions, and now companies are bankrupt or bleeding to death.

“Just like some in the ethanol industry, our fear is that major, multi-national petroleum companies are just waiting to scoop up the biodiesel industry’s capacity, returning cents on the dollar to farmer investors,” Albin said to the President.

Albin further explained that the five month lapse of the tax credit could not have come at a worse time as the Renewable Fuels Standard goes into effect July 1, 2010.

“We’re going to die without this tax credit,” Albin added even after the President’s assurances. The President responded: we won’t let you die.

Albin said he continued to press his case and asked as he walked away if Obama would commit to the tax credit being in place by the end of May. He says the President turned back to him and said, “I’m the President and I promise I’ll do whatever I can.” Let’s see what that means.

Biodiesel, Government