Nearly 80% of the producers of soybean-based Biodiesel fuel say they have cut production because of uncertainty over the renewal of a government tax credit. U.S. Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois tells reporters during a conference call that those companies deserve predictable policy and waiting more than six months into the federal budget year to act on a proposal is not acceptable.
"We know that this is a good clean product that is going to reduce emissions and help us clean up the air. Biofuels are part of the real solution to cleaning up the environment so that this earth is in at least as good a shape and maybe even better when we hand it over to our kids."
"What we can grow here, process here, and refine here and use here is going to lessen our need for importing petroleum products from overseas."
Durbin says producers are also laying off workers. He says Illinois has five biodiesel plants and five thousand jobs.
"When there is uncertainty about the future of biofuels, there is uncertainty about these jobs. And I care about that."
Biodiesel reduces emissions by 57 to 89 percent compared to petroleum diesel. Supporters of biodiesel argue that biodiesel deserves the same sort of government support and research incentives to develop the technology as hydraulic fracturing did for the petroleum industry.
Durbin also objects to a preliminary rule issued by the EPA last November that would reduce the required amount of biodiesel used in the U.S. Durbin says the industry is fully capable of supplying the old amount under the renewable fuels standard and that bio-diesel is a greener fuel and one that helps U.S. energy independence. Biodiesel supporters say it reduces emissions by more than half compared to petroleum diesel.
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