The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) and the American Soybean Association (ASA) today commended Vice President Cheney, who spearheaded the President’s Energy Taskforce, for stressing the importance of passing legislation with a biodiesel tax incentive to help diversify America’s energy supply. The groups also called for action in pushing Congress to pass the incentive.
Speaking July 19 in Columbia, Mo., near NBB headquarters, Cheney expressed support for the biodiesel tax incentive while discussing the importance of the Energy Bill, which has stalled in Congress.
“That bill includes within it significant incentives for biodiesel and ethanol,” he said. “It's very important, we think, to go down that road because it will help us to diversify our supplies, but it also will reduce the extent to which we're dependent on foreign sources of oil for our basic transportation. It's a very good piece of legislation. We need to get it done.”
Biodiesel is a cleaner burning alternative to petroleum-based diesel, and it is made primarily from soybeans that are grown in the United States. Securing passage of a biodiesel tax incentive is the top legislative priority of ASA and NBB. Due in large part to the efforts of U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) and others, a biodiesel tax incentive was included in the final Energy Bill. It is a federal excise tax credit that amounts to one penny per percentage point of biodiesel blended with petroleum diesel. The biodiesel tax incentive was also included in the Senate-passed Transportation Bill and legislation approved by the Senate to repeal the Foreign Sales Corporation and Extraterritorial Income (FSC/ETI) tax exclusion.
President Bush also expressed his continued support for biodiesel while speaking to a crowd in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on July 20.
“In order to make sure we continue to grow, we need sensible energy policy in America,” Bush said. “…any reasonable energy policy is to encourage research and development to make sure we can use ethanol better and biodiesel better. It makes sense….we can do things in environmentally friendly ways that we couldn't do 20 years ago. For the sake of national security and economic security, we need to be developing the resources we have here at home to become less dependent on foreign sources of energy.”
NBB Chairman and ASA First-Vice President Bob Metz, a South Dakota soybean farmer, said the biodiesel tax incentive has had strong bipartisan support at the Congressional level because it is a win for all Americans.
“It is very gratifying to hear Vice President Cheney say so clearly that there is support for the biodiesel tax incentive at the Executive level, and to hear President Bush say he supports biodiesel,” he said. “Now is the time for them to use their leadership to get this through. We thank the Vice President for successfully brokering the Energy Bill last time, but we need him to continue to fight for this.”
“We applaud President Bush and Vice President Cheney for highlighting the important role biodiesel plays in our nation’s fuel mix,” said ASA President Neal Bredehoeft from his farm in Alma, Missouri. “With support from ag-state members on both sides of the political aisle in Congress and from the Executive Branch, we need the Congress to pass a biodiesel tax incentive this year.”
Biodiesel works in any diesel engine with few or no modifications. It can be used in its pure form (B100), or blended with petroleum diesel at any level—most commonly 20 percent (B20). Soybean farmers have invested millions of dollars through the soybean checkoff to build the biodiesel industry in the United States.
During his speech, Bush said “…we will work to open up markets for Iowa farmers. When you're good at something, we ought to be encouraging it. We're good at growing soy beans, we're good at growing corn, and we're now selling it all around the world.”
More than 400 major fleets use biodiesel commercially nationwide. About 200 retail filling stations make biodiesel available to the public, and more than 1000 petroleum distributors carry it nationwide.
Biodiesel is nontoxic, biodegradable and essentially free of sulfur and aromatics. Biodiesel offers similar fuel economy, horsepower and torque to petroleum diesel while providing superior lubricity. It significantly reduces emissions of carbon monoxide, particulate matter, unburned hydrocarbons and sulfates. On a lifecycle basis, biodiesel reduces carbon dioxide by 78 percent compared to petroleum diesel.
Readers can learn more about biodiesel by visiting www.biodiesel.org