Republican Takeover Could Signal Change for Biofuels

John Davis

If Republicans take control of Congress in the upcoming November election, we could see a shift back to making renewable energy a priority.

In this Biofuels Digest article, Brent Erickson, executive vice president for the Biotechnology Industry Organization’s (BIO) Industrial and Environmental Section, says he has been disappointed in President Obama’s and Democratic leadership in Congress’ lack of interest in helping support the green energy industry.

[Brent Erickson] We have had two years with Democrats in Congress and the White House, and they pretty much got their way. Obama took on health care and got it gone, and TARP and the stimulus and he’s shot his wad now.

[Biofuels Digest]: Overall marks for the Administration?

BE: I have been a little bit disappointed in the Obama administration. When he was in the Senate he as very pro-biofuels. He had to choose his priorities, and that is understood, but this administration hasn’t done as much as expected.

Erickson goes on to say that biofuels, ethanol and biodiesel, have enjoyed bipartisan support, mostly from the likes of farm state Congressional members such as Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). But he says it’s not a lock that Republican control will make a huge change:

BD: Looking ahead to divided government?

BE: You can look at biofuels as an agriculture policy issue – or as green tech. These runs in cycles. First there was a biofuels wave, now wind and solar folks have reached the ascendancy. Biofuels is a much more diverse field than wind and solar – over there it’s wind turbines and solar panels – that’s part of the problem. Then, the economy going in the tank, and the people who have money to invest got conservative.

But biofuels have enjoyed pretty good bipartisan support, although the oil companies will have more of a voice if the Republicans take over. Not all oil companies have the same position – some are outright anti-biofuels, some are more pro than others. But the ag lobby is pretty powerful.

Erickson goes on to say that pay-go rules in Congress and a preference for investment tax credits as over production tax credits could change the game as well.

BIO, Biodiesel, biofuels, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Government, News