As Oil Spills, Washington Chokes off Biodiesel Industry

Stephen Smith | May 7, 2010 | Energy Policy, Offshore Drilling

As oil continues to gush into the Gulf of Mexico, Congress has yet to pass an important extension of the $1.00 per gallon biodiesel blenders tax credit.  2009 has been tough for the industry, and finding real alternatives to oil-derived fuels like petroleum diesel is critical in order to bring our nation’s addiction to dangerous drilling and imported oil to an end.

Both the House of Representatives and the Senate have passed different versions of the blenders tax credit but work still remains in order to reconcile the two versions.  Since the tax credit expired on December 31, 2009, nearly 80% of the industry has been idling, effectively choking this emerging  industry off as it began to gain steam.  President Obama discussed biodiesel many times throughout his campaign and has continued to speak about it while in office; however, the industry is dying under his watch and swift action by Congress is needed to move forward.


While some may argue that we should not support this emerging industry with tax credits, if our nation is serious about developing clean alternatives to oil, then the emerging biodiesel industry needs to be supported. The blenders credit pays $1.00 for every gallon of biodiesel that is produced and blended with petroleum diesel, helping to offset the use of a finite fossil fuel-based product.  The Congress passed and EPA has completed the rules for a renewable fuel standard (RFS2) that will require an increasing percentage of biofuels in the market.

Talk is cheap: if we want real independence from foreign oil and from dangerous drilling practices we need Congress to fully support domestic alternatives like biodiesel by sustaining the industry’s targets and incentives. We must support these industries from the bottom up as they work to establish themselves in a market dominated by Big Oil.

SACE has started locally based sustainable biodiesel operations in Knoxville, TN and Atlanta, GA and we are committed to modeling sustainable alternatives to dirty dangerous oil.  Contact us or visit the National Biodiesel Board’s website to learn what you can do to support biodiesel and help move the United States away from dirty, dangerous oil.

Stephen Smith
Dr. Stephen A. Smith has over 35 years of experience affecting positive change for the environment. Since 1993, Dr. Smith has led the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) as…
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