More Senate Inaction on Biodiesel Bill Draws IRFA Ire

John Davis

Another procedural vote failure in the U.S. Senate has put up yet another roadblock to renewal of the federal $1-a-gallon biodiesel tax incentive. And that isn’t sitting well with the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association. Past President and Western Iowa Energy Board Member Denny Mauser blasted the Senate and the Obama administration for having plenty of time to help doctors but can’t seem to be bothered to help the 23,000 people in the biodioesel industry who either have lost their jobs or soon will because of the loss of the credit:

“As the U.S. Senate continues to tinker with the tax extenders package, biodiesel plants in Iowa and around the country remain idle and continue to lay-off workers. The President stated on Tuesday that he would not settle for inaction on tackling America’s addiction to fossil fuels, but that is exactly what happened. The Senate failed once again to jumpstart the proven petroleum-displacing ability of America’s first advanced biofuel. By restoring the biodiesel tax incentive, one billion gallons of renewable fuel can begin displacing crude oil immediately.”

Further complicating the process, the Senate today passed legislation by unanimous consent to prevent Medicare doctors from receiving a 21 percent pay cut starting next week. This “doc fix” provision was cherry-picked out of the tax extenders bill.

“It took one hundred senators to agree to the doc fix,” Mauser continued. “While I understand that is important, how can the biodiesel industry be left in the lurch as a million or more gallons of crude oil continue to spew into the Gulf waters each day? Any one senator could have stood up and said, ‘Let’s end the pay cuts and job losses for workers in the biodiesel industry at the same time as we pass the doctor pay-cut fix.’ After six months of devastating inaction, it’s past time for that type of Senate leadership.”

The IRFA recently has been quite vocal in its criticism of the lack action on the biodiesel credit. Just a few days ago, the group challenged Obama to put up a little less talk and a lot more action to promote biofuels after the President put such a high priority on renewable energy during this week’s address on the Gulf oil spill.