Scientists, environmentalists, biofuels industry unite to save RFS, extend biofuels incentives

June 13, 2012 |

In Washington,  in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker John Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, leading environmental, science and advanced biofuels advocates urged Congress today to protect the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and extend expiring tax incentives for cellulosic biofuels.

The letter, signed by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the Great Plains Institute, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI), the Advanced Ethanol Council (AEC), the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE), the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, the Advanced Biofuels Association and the Biotechnology Industry Association (BIO), comes in the midst of a series of investigatory hearings on the RFS in the Senate and another hearing today in the Senate Finance Committee on energy tax reform.

Specifically, the letter calls on Congress to leave the RFS unchanged, stating that “[a]ny effort to open up the RFS would send a chilling signal to a sector where decades-old policies and incentives continue to push investment dollars to the incumbent petroleum industry.” The group calls the RFS a “cornerstone” of the emerging advanced biofuels industry in the United States.

The letter also calls on Congress to extend existing tax incentives for cellulosic biofuels – both the Producer Tax Credit and Accelerated Depreciation – while it continues to deliberate on more comprehensive tax reform. “We support ongoing efforts to more comprehensively reform energy tax policy to level the playing field between incumbent industries and cleaner alternatives and enhance U.S. competitiveness in the global $2.4 trillion clean energy marketplace,” the letter states. The group letter adds that “[a] reformed tax policy should reflect 21st century energy challenges by complementing the RFS, rewarding environmental performance and driving innovation.”

“We are pleased that this group came together to support both the RFS and tax incentives for cellulosic biofuels,” commented Advanced Ethanol Council executive director Brooke Coleman. “The RFS is the most effective policy ever enacted to reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil, and it is becoming increasingly clear that tax incentives for renewable fuels make sense from both economic and environmental perspective, and to level set a marketplace fueled by permanent tax breaks for oil and gas. With Congress looking at these policies, it is absolutely critical that supporters of the RFS and progressive energy tax policy come together and defend these important programs.”

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Category: Policy

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