- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 20, 2010

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

We need to expend more energy on the biofuels industry in the United States. When Congress left Washington for the Christmas vacation, it also left behind no action on the extension of the federal tax credit that provided producers of biodiesel $1 for every gallon made. That tax credit expired at the end of the year.

The very major economic and national security issue that arises because of the expiration of the biodiesel tax credit is that the production and use of biodiesel in the United States will cease. How can Congress abandon one of the earliest and potentially most productive of the first generation of biofuels that will, over time, be a significant component in reducing America’s dependency of foreign fossil fuels?

Without the $1 tax credit, all the biodiesel-producing plants in the nation will have to shut down. Many have done so already, costing thousands of “green jobs” and wreaking financial hardship on American entrepreneurs and investors who saw biodiesel production as a new opportunity to begin business while helping decrease foreign oil dependency.

Even with a decline in gasoline and diesel prices over the recent past, the continued production and distribution of biofuels is in the vital national interest of the United States.

Now is no time to abandon ship on any components of our national biofuels development program. The private sector and the federal government have too much invested in biofuels to let the biodiesel industry fail because of congressional inaction.

Members of Congress need to act quickly on the extension of the biodiesel tax credit before an industry is lost and our nation suffers another failed attempt if reducing our still-voracious dependency on foreign oil.

FLETCHER R. HALL

Potomac, Md.

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