Biodiesel Plant Layoffs Prompt Renewed Call for Action

John Davis

Another day, more jobs lost due to Congress’ inaction on renewing the $1-a-gallon federal biodiesel tax credit.

This time, it’s the Maple River Energy biodiesel plant near Galva, Iowa. The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association says 12 of the facility’s 18 employees are being laid off until the biodiesel blenders credit is reinstated:

Delayne Johnson, General Manager of Maple River Energy, added: “Looking my employees in the eye and telling them they were being laid off was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do in my life. Despite the expiration of the tax credit, we did everything we could at Maple River Energy to keep a core key group of highly trained employees on the job. We took Congress at their word when they promised to make restoring the biodiesel tax credit their first priority in 2010. Congress has failed to live up to that promise.”

“The fact that the U.S. Congress has allowed the biodiesel tax credit to lapse for over one-third of 2010 is absolutely mind-boggling,” said IRFA Executive Director Monte Shaw. “Congress’ inaction has cost thousands of green jobs – another 12 this week. As painful as this is, if the finger-pointing between the House and Senate stops and they reinstate the biodiesel tax credit, within 24 hours many of those green collar biodiesel jobs across the country will be reinstated.”

Meanwhile, KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids reports one of Iowa’s U.S. Senators, Republican Charles Grassley is chiding the Obama Administration for failing to make renewal of the credit a priority … even as the President just wrapped up a tour of wind turbine plant in Iowa and a biofuel plant nearby in Missouri:

“He ought to be giving some push to this, particularly when traveling southeast Iowa to say that you want a jobs bill, you want to promote green jobs, you want to promote more jobs,” Grassley said. “One little simple bill, not controversial, and you could put 23,000 people back to work right away.”

About 2,000 biodiesel jobs have already been lost this year in Iowa. The IRFA warns those layoffs could become permanent if Congress doesn’t act soon. Some leaders have promised the bill will be considered before Memorial Day.

Biodiesel, Government, Legislation