Senator Tom Harkin is pushing this week to get a tax break for biodiesel extended during the so-called “lame duck” session of congress that’s underway in Washington. Harkin wants to add the biodiesel tax credit to an energy bill that’s scheduled to come up for a vote in the U.S. Senate on Thursday.
“We need to move forward on energy legislation. We all recognize that, but there’s something terribly missing from this bill,” Harkin said during remarks on the Senate floor. “And what’s missing from this bill is any mention of biofuels and what biofuels can contribute to our energy independence in this country.”
The tax credit for blending soybean-based biodiesel expired at the end of 2009. The Iowa Biodiesel Board estimates as many as 2,500 Iowans have lost their jobs in the past year because biodiesel plants in Iowa are idle or have been closed for good because of the tax issue. Harkin is threatening to vote “no” on the energy bill if it does not include the biodiesel tax credit.
“What’s missing from the bill is really a focus, any focus at all on the one thing over the last, say, 20 years that has really decreased our dependence on foreign oil — there’s only been one — and that’s the use of biofuels for transportation,” Harkin said during a speech on the Senate floor.
Harkin’s also pressing congress to vote now to extend the federal tax break for ethanol which is set to expire at the end of this year. The tax break is 45-cents per gallon.