The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association and Iowa Biodiesel Board are calling upon U.S. Senator Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, to work quickly with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other Senate leaders to reinstate the biodiesel tax credit through the first moving piece of legislation available. Both organizations say this move is needed in order to put biodiesel employees back to work and protect thousands of green collar jobs.
On February 11, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., announced drastic changes to the bipartisan jobs bill which removed the biodiesel tax credit extension—vital to the downward-spiraling biodiesel industry—and other energy provisions, from the quickly-moving HIRE legislation.
According to the National Biodiesel Board, biodiesel production has ground to a halt and more than 29,000 jobs have already been lost across the industry since the tax credit lapsed on January 1, 2010. In Iowa, most biodiesel production facilities are idled or shut down. Plants in Crawfordsville, Farley and Washington have laid off manufacturing staff since the tax credit lapse.
Reinstating biodiesel tax credit would put people back to work
"It is inconceivable that the biodiesel tax credit extension would be dismissed as a second tier job creation measure that can be dealt with at a later time. This is the only provision being considered that is guaranteed to put people back to work literally the day after it is signed into law," says Monte Shaw, Iowa Renewable Fuels Association executive director. "Every day that this tax credit is allowed to lapse, locally-owned Iowa biodiesel plants are laying off more green collar workers and adding to our nation's unemployment epidemic."
"One of our biodiesel plants was auctioned off to companies that plan to dismantle it and send it to India," says Randy Olson, executive director of the Iowa Biodiesel Board. "That is the future in store for us without strong state and federal lawmakers who are willing to make energy and jobs a priority. Iowa does not have refining capacity for gasoline and diesel, but we once had a thriving renewable fuels industry here. This is a 'lose-lose' proposition for our state and our nation."
Biodiesel will help make green jobs a priority in America
At Western Dubuque Biodiesel, a 30 million gallon biodiesel plant in Farley, Iowa, 19 full-time employees with benefits were laid off in January as a result of the biodiesel tax credit lapse. "Iowans and the rest of the nation need Senator Harkin's support now more than ever to make energy independence and green jobs a priority," says Tom Brooks, general manager at the facility. "I want to bring back 19 skilled workers to make biodiesel at this plant and that can't happen until the biodiesel tax credit is back in place."
Iowa is the leader in renewable fuels production. Iowa has 39 ethanol refineries capable of producing nearly 3.3 billion gallons annually. In addition, Iowa has 14 biodiesel facilities with the capacity to produce over 315 million gallons annually.
The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association was formed in 2002 to represent the state's liquid renewable fuels industry. The trade group fosters the development and growth of the renewable fuels industry in Iowa through education, promotion, legislation and infrastructure development.
For more information, visit the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association website at: www.IowaRFA.org