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Bring Biofuel Tax Breaks Back, Renewables Groups Say

Bring Biofuel Tax Breaks Back, Renewables Groups Say

Suite of renewable fuel tax breaks expired Dec. 31, leaving renewables groups to ponder future fiscal situation

In a letter to the Senate Finance Committee Monday, seven U.S. renewable energy groups asked for an extension of four tax credits that support the processing and marketing of biofuels.

The letter, addressed to committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, suggests an extension of the Second Generation Biofuel Producer Tax Credit, the Special Depreciation Allowance for Second Generation Biofuel Plant Property, the Biodiesel and Renewable Diesel Fuels Credit, and the Alternative Fuel and Alternative Fuel Mixture Excise Tax Credit.

The credits expired December 31, 2013.

Suite of renewable fuel tax breaks expired Dec. 31, leaving renewables groups to ponder future fiscal situation

Groups signing on to the letter make the case that the biofuels industry is at a "critical stage" of development, and has succeeded in opening commercial-scale plants, despite negative fiscal circumstances.

"Advanced biofuel tax credits have allowed the biofuels industry to make great strides in reducing the cost of production and developing first-of-kind technologies to deploy the most innovative fuel in the world," the letter goes on to say, noting that without tax incentives, the U.S. industry can't compete globally.

"The United States' global competitors are offering tax incentives for advanced biofuels and in fact are attracting construction of new facilities – and associated high skilled jobs," the letter argues. "If Congress wants American companies to continue developing these homegrown technologies in the United States, it must extend these credits."

Biofuel producers are also competing with incumbent fossil energy industries who continue to enjoy tax incentives on a permanent basis, they said.

"In the interests of energy security, job creation, global competitiveness, and forward-looking policy, we urge you to move quickly to extend expired advanced biofuel tax provisions for multiple years retroactive to January 1," the letter concluded.

The President's budget proposal, released earlier this month, did call for an extension of the cellulosic tax credits, though no other renewable tax credits were mentioned. The budget proposal also plans to cut subsidies for fossil fuel producers. The Republican answer to that budget is expected soon.

The discussion on the credits comes as the industry battles the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which is considering a rollback of the Renewable Fuels Standard.

The trade groups signing the letter included the Advanced Ethanol Council, Advanced Biofuels Association, Algae Biomass Organization, Biotechnology Industry Organization, Growth Energy, National Biodiesel Board, and Renewable Fuels Association.

How will the March 31 USDA reports impact your bottom line? Farm Futures Senior Market Analyst Bryce Knorr and Farm Futures Senior Editor Bob Burgdorfer will discuss the reports and the spring weather outlook in a free webinar April 7 at 7 p.m. CDT. Learn more about the Farm Futures webinar.

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