Before leaving for a week-long Congressional recess on Friday May 28, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the “American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010,” also known as the “Tax Extenders” bill. Among other things, the legislation provides a one-year retroactive extension for the $1 per-gallon biodiesel blenders’ tax credit for biodiesel and renewable diesel, the additional 10 cents per gallon small biodiesel producers’ tax credit, and the 50-cent-per-gallon excise tax credit for propane used as a transportation fuel. The bill now awaits action by the U.S. Senate, which is expected to take up the bill next week.
NEFI members should also be aware that an increase for the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund tax, which is charged on every barrel of crude oil, was included in the final legislation. The tax would be increased from eight cents to 34 cents (translating to under one cent per gallon for refined petroleum products). The increase will raise nearly $12 billion for the fund, which was created by Congress in 1990 to help pay for costs associated with oil spills, and is at risk of going insolvent. The current $1.5 billion on-hand in the fund will not be enough to cover costs associated with the current spill in the Gulf, already the worst in U.S. history. Under the 1990 law, BP would only be liable for $75 million in damages, and the remainder would come from this taxpayer-funded Oil Spill Liability Trust. BP this week said that costs associated with the most recent spill are expected to be “severe.”
Concerning the $1 per gallon biodiesel tax credit, NEFI will continue to work with biodiesel industry advocates to secure the one-year retroactive extension, and after that, is committed to help pass a longer-term extension that will keep biodiesel a viable alternative to fossil fuels.