December 4, 2019
With time running out for Congress this year, Iowa Congresswoman Cindy Axne is calling for continuing an important tax credit for renewable fuel production.
The West Des Moines Democrat is among those calling for the U.S. House to pass the Biodiesel Tax Credit Extension Act of 2019. Introduced by Axne’s colleague, Iowa Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer back in April, the bill would extend income tax credits for biodiesel and renewable diesel used as fuel, the excise tax credit for biodiesel mixtures, and the payments equivalent to the excise tax credit for biodiesel mixtures. Speaking on KMA’s “Morning Line” program Wednesday morning, Axne says this tax credit and others must be extended before the Christmas holiday recess.
“End-of-year tax credits are absolutely something businesses and families count on,” said Axne. “So, we can’t let them expire at the last minute. The reason these tax breaks and credits are important to Iowa is because they impact how much families are paying for things like health care, they impact biofuels and agriculture, and obviously one of Iowa’s biggest economic sectors, and they support clean energy investment that supports Iowa as a leader in clean energy.”
Axne says biodiesel producers she’s talked to urge the measure’s passage.
“It’s very difficult for them to plan for next year, or the following year, when they don’t know what their revenue stream is going to look like,” she said. “So, it’s very difficult for them to outlay capital for them to build or expand, to hire more folks. Giving them that stability so that they can understand where their business is headed gives an opportunity for them to increase growth for their company, and therefore put more money in their employees’ pockets, and hopefully invest in their business and hire more people.”
In a related note, Axne is among those waiting for the Environmental Protection Agency to rule on Renewable Fuel Standards, now that the comment period on basing the volume of gasoline and diesel exempt in 2020 due to Small Refinery Exemptions–based on a three-year average recommended by the U.S. Department of Energy–has expired. The congresswoman calls on the EPA to maintain the 15-billion-gallon reallocation level previously set back in September.
“I’ll wait to see what they have to say,” said Axne. “I’ve been, obviously, utterly disappointed with the EPA and the (Trump) Administration’s handling and oversight of the EPA, and allowing them to employ these practices that are hurting hard-working farmers across the country–especially Iowa. So, I’ll wait to see what they say. They’ve been, quite honestly, not trustworthy this year in my book. They say one thing, and they do another.”
Axne plans to keep the heat on the EPA regarding the RFS issue.
“We’ve got an investigation going with the EPA to understand why they issue these waivers, exactly who got them, exactly how much each one got, so that we can get to the bottom of this,” she said. “I think they’re feeling the pressure, and I hope that, certainly, with that pressure, and with the election year, the president will hope push an agenda forward that would help hard-working farmers.”