Lack of Biodiesel Incentive Closes Another Plant

John Davis

Just in case you forgot (fat chance of that!), the federal $1-a-gallon biodiesel tax incentive has not been renewed after expiring at the end of 2009. And an estimated 23,000 biodiesel workers (and counting) have been laid off nationwide. The latest victims are workers at a biodiesel plant once touted as the largest in New England.

This Times Argus article says the Swanton, Vermont Biocardel biodiesel refinery has been shuttered because of the lack of the credit … and most likely won’t be coming back:

The state’s economic development authority is now in the process of trying to recover more than a half-million dollars it provided to the facility in low-interest loans, according to officials. State tax credits were also awarded to the company that built the plant, Biocardel, a subsidiary of a Canadian company, although the credits were never used.

The expiration of a federal tax credit for the production of biofuels at the end of 2009 has hammered the industry nationally and the Biocardel facility in Vermont is one casualty. The company does not have plans to reopen the facility.

Jo Bradley of the Vermont Economic Development Authority said that the plant has closed.

“We are trying to negotiate some kind of settlement for the balance of our loan,” she said. “When the federal credits were not renewed it was a blow to the industry as a whole. It made it much more difficult for them to survive.”

Stephen Daigle, who was the general manager of the Vermont plant, said Friday it was frustrating to see the plant just get to the verge of ramping up production last December after nearly two years of preparing and research and development, only to have the tax credits expire and Congress fail to restore them in the months since.

“People tried to help us as much as possible,” Daigle said. “It’s sad because I think Vermont as a green state would have supported it very well.”

The plant was to produce eight million gallons of biodiesel a year.

Biodiesel, Government, Legislation