WASHINGTON - Policies supporting biodiesel production would win a resounding vote of confidence if they were on the ballot in next week’s elections, according to a nationwide survey released Tuesday.
Three out of four voters (75 percent) support a tax incentive for biodiesel, the survey found. Seventy-six percent said they support a national renewable fuel standard. The survey of nearly 1,200 registered U.S. voters was conducted by Moore Information Opinion Research between Sept. 30 and Oct. 2. It was commissioned by the National Biodiesel Board (NBB).
“These numbers reflect overwhelming public support for developing cleaner, alternative fuels so that we’re not so dangerously dependent on petroleum,” said Anne Steckel, NBB’s vice president of federal affairs. “These policies are popular because they are effective. We’re gradually reducing our dependence on oil. We’re reducing harmful and costly pollution. And we’re creating jobs and economic activity at home. Congress and the Obama administration should take cues from the people who elected them and step up to make sure we have strong, stable policies supporting biodiesel production.”
Biodiesel – made from a variety of resources including soybean oil, recycled cooking oil and animal fats – is the first EPA-designated Advanced Biofuel to reach commercial-scale production nationwide. With plants in nearly every state in the country, the industry had a record U.S. market last year of nearly 1.8 billion gallons. According to the EPA, biodiesel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 57 percent to 86 percent compared with petroleum diesel.
Nonetheless, the EPA late last year proposed holding biodiesel production under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) at 1.28 billion gallons, well below actual 2013 production. The proposal, seen as a retreat from the RFS by the Obama administration, has shaken the U.S. biodiesel industry and caused many companies to pull back production and lay off employees. With just a few months left in the year, the EPA has still not finalized the standard, leaving the industry with tremendous uncertainty and instability.
At the same time, Congress allowed the $1-per-gallon biodiesel tax incentive to expire at the end of 2013 and has failed to reinstate it despite broad bipartisan support. House and Senate leaders have expressed hope that Congress will pass an extension in the lame duck session after the elections.
“This is one of those issues that illustrates why voters are so fed up with Washington,” Steckel said. “You have policies with overwhelming support from the public and strong bipartisan support in Congress, yet Washington seems paralyzed with inaction. Jobs are at stake here, and we urge the Obama administration and Congress to act quickly to get this industry back on track.”
Among other findings in the survey, 85 percent of respondents said a candidate’s position on energy issues was somewhat important or very important in their voting decision, and 78 percent said a candidate’s position on alternative fuels was very important or somewhat important. To read the survey, click here.
NBB is the U.S. trade association representing the biodiesel industry.
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For more information about biodiesel, visit biodiesel.org