Actions Seek to Keep U.S. Biodiesel Tax Benefits at Home

Cindy Zimmerman

Two actions last week made progress toward preventing foreign biodiesel producers from reaping the benefits of U.S. tax incentives.

Rep. Kristi Noem meets with biofuels supporters in her DC office

Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD) announced the introduction of legislation would extend the $1-per-gallon tax credit for biodiesel through the end of 2020 and reform the credit so it is only used for fuel produced in the U.S.

“This legislation would give more certainty regarding biodiesel’s availability while ensuring the incentive is encouraging American biodiesel production, not the importation of foreign biodiesel – a move consistent with our goal of achieving American energy independence,” said Noem.

The bipartisan bill cosponsored by Reps. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) and Dave Loebsack (D-IA) provides an additional 10-cent-per-gallon credit for small U.S. biodiesel producers. Companion legislation was recently introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA).

“We are thrilled to see momentum building in both chambers of Congress for this important tax reform. It is long overdue to close this loophole and better align the incentive with Congress’ intent—to invest American taxpayer dollars to spur job creation here at home,” said Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs at the National Biodiesel Board.

At the same time, the International Trade Commission (ITC) decided to proceed with an investigation into biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia. The National Biodiesel Board Fair Trade Coalition is the leading petitioner in this case which alleges serious injury to U.S. biodiesel producers as a result of a flood of imports coming from those two countries in particular.

Biodiesel imports to the U.S. have increased significantly in recent years, which NBB says is largely a result of the tax credit, and that fuel often receives subsidies in its country of origin. Argentinian biodiesel producers, for example, receive incentives under their country’s Differential Export Tax regime, then they can ship to this country where it also can qualify for the U.S. tax incentive.

Biodiesel, NBB