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Biodiesel Tax Credit Included In Year-End Spending Bill

Amy Mayer
IPR file
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, pictured in Des Moines in Aug., worked into the early hours of Tuesday to secure a deal on tax extenders.

Congress has reached a deal to keep the federal government open, pending a final vote in the Senate that’s expected this week. The spending bill also addresses many additional provisions, including the extension of some tax credits that had lapsed.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, worked late into the night Monday to Tuesday finalizing a deal on the so-called tax extenders.

“I’m happy to report, we’ve restored the $1 per gallon biodiesel tax credit, and we did it retroactively to its expiring on Dec. 31 2017,” Grassley said. That means it will apply to 2018 and 2019 and the provision also calls on it to continue through 2022.

Grassley expressed some frustration that there wasn’t earlier and stronger bipartisan support for a slate of tax extensions, as has typically been his experience. And he noted that for some biodiesel plants the last-minute deal comes too late.

“The long delay and lapse in extending the biodiesel tax credit needlessly put thousands of good-paying jobs at stake,” he said, referencing plants that had reduced production or closed and laid off workers.

But a separate and ongoing issue with small refineries and how the Environmental Protection Agency handles waivers for their biofuels obligations also contributed to 2019 being a tough year for biofuels.

“Passage of the biodiesel tax credit is much-needed good news in rural America,” said Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Executive Director Monte Shaw in a statement.

Iowa is a top biodiesel producer, but plants in Nebraska, Texas and elsewhere also shut down during 2019.

“If passed, the biodiesel tax incentive will bring much needed stability to the renewable fuels market and rural communities across the state,” said Mike Naig, Iowa’s secretary of agriculture.

The House approved the year-end spending bill that includes the biodiesel tax credit on Tuesday. The Senate is expected to vote this week and the White House has indicated President Donald Trump will sign it, averting a government shutdown that loomed on the weekend without congressional action.

Amy Mayer is a reporter based in Ames