Cantwell Fights For Biodiesel Jobs

Cantwell legislation would extend a production tax credit, saving 200+ Washington jobs

SEATTLE, WA – Today at a press conference, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) said extending the biodiesel production tax credit is absolutely essential to protecting 222 Washington state jobs. Additionally, the extension would create an additional 119 jobs in Washington. The dollar-per-gallon biodiesel tax incentive was first enacted in 2004 in one-year durations, but the last extension expired at the end of last year, leaving the entire industry struggling to survive. Senator Cantwell is fighting for a one-year extension through the end of 2010, which would be retroactive to January 1, 2010. Cantwell also authored bipartisan legislation that will provide a long-term boost to the industry with a long-term extension and reform of the biodiesel production incentive.    
“We can grow our own energy independence right here in Washington state,” Senator Cantwell said. “Biodiesel is one of many ways forward, and we must continue supporting this nascent industry that strengthens our economy and creates jobs. By extending the biodiesel production tax incentive, we’ll protect more than 200 jobs and create even more right here in Washington state, contribute to our local economy, and advance us toward a cleaner energy future.”
Nationwide, biodiesel currently supports more than 23,000 jobs. If the credit were extended through 2010, the industry could see the addition of 12,271 jobs nationwide. The biodiesel production tax credit helped encourage the production of biodiesel from 25 million gallons in 2004 to 690 million gallons in 2008.
Unfortunately, limited access to capital, uncertainty surrounding the federal commitment to biodiesel, and the current state of the economy threaten to undermine the progress the U.S. biodiesel industry has made to build the production capacity and infrastructure needed to displace petroleum diesel fuel with renewable, low-carbon biodiesel. Senator Cantwell, along with Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and 11 other Senators, are pushing bipartisan legislation to simplify and extend the tax incentive for domestic biodiesel production through 2014. The Biodiesel Tax Incentive Reform and Extension Act of 2009 would provide predictability to investors and producers so the United States can continue moving forward to displace imported fossil fuels with low carbon, renewable biodiesel.
Senator Cantwell has long been a champion of biofuels throughout her career, both through tax incentives and in pushing for a renewable fuels standard. Cantwell worked with colleagues to push through the last extension of the biodiesel credit, which was enacted in the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.