Senators Hailed as Dynamic Duo of Biodiesel

The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) presented Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Blanche Lambert Lincoln (D-Arkansas) with the National Energy Leadership Award for their commitment to clean renewable energy and greater domestic energy security through biodiesel. The Senators each received the award as industry leaders gathered for the NBB board meeting.

Washington, D.C. – August 7, 2003 [] “Senators Grassley and Lincoln are untiring in their work to see the biodiesel industry mature and America stand even stronger through greater use of this cleaner-burning American-made fuel,” said NBB Chairman Bob Metz. “They are a dynamic duo of bipartisan support for biodiesel.” Over the last decade, the two senators have led major initiatives, both legislative and regulatory, to promote greater markets for biodiesel. “Biodiesel is an important piece of the renewable energy pie that will be necessary to free the U.S. from its dangerous dependence on foreign sources of energy,” Grassley said. “Processing the soybean just down the road from where its grown is an economic boon for Midwest soybean producers. Besides moving us towards energy independence, the tax credit my Finance Committee passed will also benefit Iowa’s farmers, help create jobs in rural Iowa and help clean the air.” “I’ve been a strong supporter of biodiesel because of its potential for reducing our dependence on non-renewable oil while providing a much needed boost to agricultural producers and domestic energy producers,” Lincoln said. “I’m proud to have played a leading role in developing new incentives to promote biodiesel use, and I look forward to building on our progress in the future.” The centerpiece of their biodiesel leadership is their co-sponsorship of legislation to create biodiesel tax incentives that would offer an excise tax credit for biodiesel blended into petroleum diesel. Grassley and Lincoln were key in getting the legislation included in the Energy Bill that the Senate approved in 2002. Unfortunately, differences between the overall House and Senate energy packages were not resolved, and the 107th Congress adjourned last fall without completing an Energy Bill. In February 2003, the Senators reintroduced the biodiesel tax provisions that are expected to be included in the Senate’s broader energy package. The Senators also supported the USDA Bioenergy Program that is currently the primary federal program designed to stimulate growth in the biodiesel industry and is largely responsible for biodiesel becoming one of the fastest growing alternative energy sources. With input from leaders like Grassley and Lincoln, USDA agreed this past May that biodiesel incentives should not be decreased in the program, and that all biodiesel payments should be based on the formula for the Fiscal Year 2002. This program provides an essential transition until the biodiesel tax incentive legislation is approved. Senator Grassley initiated the Energy Tax Incentives Act of 2003. This $15.5 billion measure advances development of renewable fuels and alternative energy. In May of this year, Senator Lincoln co-founded the Senate Biofuels Caucus to promote the use and development of renewable fuels. Both Senators are supportive of Renewable Fuels Standard legislation that calls for the nation’s fuel supply to increase its dependence on renewable domestic fuels, like ethanol and biodiesel, to 5 billion gallons by 2012. “NBB appreciates the support of the many Members of Congress who have worked to gain greater recognition and use of biodiesel,” Metz said. “We appreciate their efforts to provide cleaner air to all Americans through biodiesel use.” Biodiesel is the only alternative fuel to have completed the rigorous Health Effects testing required by the Clean Air Act. Results show biodiesel poses less of a risk to human health than petroleum diesel. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released a comprehensive technical report of biodiesel emissions data that shows the exhaust emissions of particulate matter from pure biodiesel are about 47 percent lower than overall particulate matter emissions from diesel. Breathing particulate has been shown to be a human health hazard. Biodiesel emissions also reduce by 80 to 90 percent potential cancer-causing compounds called Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) and nitrated PAH. Biodiesel also reduces emissions of total unburned hydrocarbons, a contributing factor to smog and ozone, by about 68 percent. Carbon monoxide is reduced by about 48 percent. Biodiesel has similar horsepower, torque and BTU content compared to petroleum diesel. It offers excellent lubricity and higher cetane than diesel fuel. Biodiesel is registered with the EPA as a fuel and fuel additive. About 300 major fleets currently use biodiesel nationwide.