Sen. Talent Introduces Renewable Fuels Package

U.S. Senator Jim Talent (R-Mo.), Co-Chair of the Senate Biofuels Caucus, announced a comprehensive renewable fuels package he is sponsoring in the Senate on behalf of Missouri’s producers and the state’s economy. The package includes two bills, one doubling the market for renewable fuels by 2012 (S. 650) and the other expanding tax credits for agricultural producers (S. 610).

“Renewable fuels are at the crux of economic growth and jobs; at the crux of energy security; at the crux of consumer benefits; at the crux of environmental quality; and at the crux of value-added agriculture for America’s producers,” said Sen. Talent who serves on both the Senate Agriculture Committee and the Senate Energy Committee. “The package I have introduced would establish the strongest Renewable Fuels Standard ever considered by the Congress and provide incentives for producers who want to expand an ethanol plant or a biodiesel plant.” Sen. Talent’s plan establishes a Renewable Fuels Standard, phasing in renewable fuels over 7 years, beginning with 4 billion gallons by 2006 and ending at 8 billion gallons in 2012. The bill would allow officials to increase the renewable fuel requirement in 2013 and beyond after reviewing the success of the program. The legislation provides that the renewable fuels requirement in 2013 and after will be no less than the percentage of 8 billion gallons of renewable fuel to the total number of gallons of gasoline in 2012. Sen. Talent’s legislation also establishes a tax credit for “small biodiesel producers”, allowing producers that make up to 60 million gallons of biodiesel per year to be eligible for a ten-cent-per-gallon tax credit. Additionally, the legislation increases the current “small ethanol producer” tax credit, expanding it to those who produce up to 60 million gallons annually. The small producer tax credit was created as an incentive for farmers who invested in small ethanol production facilities. Missouri has three ethanol plants with two under construction. The Northeast Missouri Grain Processors Ethanol Plant in Macon and the Mid-Missouri Energy Ethanol Plant in Malta Bend are currently producing more than 30 million gallons annually and no longer qualify for the small producer tax credit. Under Sen. Talent’s bill both facilities would qualify. Sen. Talent also discussed his recent success in pushing for the Indy Racing League (IRL) to switch to ethanol. On March 3, IRL officials announced that starting in 2006 ethanol will be used to power the IndyCar Series, including the Indianapolis 500. Sen. Talent, for two years encouraged the IRL to make the switch. Earlier this month, Sen. Talent joined IndyCar Series officials and driver Paul Dana to make the announcement.