Debate continues over biofuel tax credit


WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — A coalition of Midwest lawmakers is rallying together to try to renew a tax credit for producers of biofuel, but environmental activists say it may do more harm than good.

The biodiesel tax credit, which expired more than a year ago, gives producer a $1 per gallon tax credit. Proponents say agriculture workers rely on the credit — especially amid the trade war with China — and that it creates jobs and helps the environment.

“Now more than ever, our soybean farmers need certainty,” Rep. Abby Finkenauer, D-Iowa, said at a Thursday event supporting the credit. “If the House and Senate is going to take caring about our environment seriously, we’d better be supporting this bill.”

She’s part of a bipartisan group of lawmakers from the Midwest pushing for the credit.

“This should be a no-brainer,” Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said.

Supporters say the plant- and waste-based biofuels have helped reduce carbon emissions over the last decade, but some environmentalists disagree.

“The facts that they’re using to educate lawmakers are way out of date,” environmental advocate Margaret Hansbrough said, adding that new research shows the credit is harmful.

“As more of these crops are grown, more land is going into cultivation, more new land is going into cultivation, more carbon is likely being released into the atmosphere and accelerating climate change,” she continued.

The Trump administration did not include the tax credit in the budget it presented to Congress, but that doesn’t mean it’s off the table.

“That’s a proposal that comes from the administration, but we’re the ones who implement the legislation,” Rep. Darin LaHood, R-Ill., said.

He said the Committee on Ways & Means, on which he sits, is planning to push the bill through the House and expects it to pass in the Senate.

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