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May 5, 2010
Inaction on Biodiesel Tax Credit
Costs A Dozen Green Jobs in Galva, Iowa
JOHNSTON, IA – On the heels of another round of biodiesel refinery layoffs in Iowa this week, the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) warned Congressional leaders that the damage done to the biodiesel industry from the expired biodiesel tax credit will soon go from acutely painful to absolutely irreversible. On Monday, Maple River Energy, a 5 million gallon per year soybean crush plant, oil refinery and biodiesel production facility near Galva, Iowa, made the difficult decision to temporarily lay off 12 of its 18 employees until the biodiesel blenders credit is reinstated.
“The fact that the U.S. Congress has allowed the biodiesel tax credit to lapse for over one-third of 2010 is absolutely mind-boggling,” said IRFA Executive Director Monte Shaw. “Congress’ inaction has cost thousands of green jobs – another 12 this week. As painful as this is, if the finger-pointing between the House and Senate stops and they reinstate the biodiesel tax credit, within 24 hours many of those green collar biodiesel jobs across the country will be reinstated.”
Shaw continued: “Yet, every day this manmade economic disaster continues biodiesel plants in Iowa are pushed closer to bankruptcy. Simply put, if the tax credit isn’t restored prior to Congress’ Memorial Day recess, there is near certainty that some biodiesel plants will be forced into bankruptcy. The local investments will be lost and the jobs will never return. This is preventable. Restoring the biodiesel tax credit is nonpartisan and noncontroversial. Congress just needs to act.”
Delayne Johnson, General Manager of Maple River Energy, added: “Looking my employees in the eye and telling them they were being laid off was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do in my life. Despite the expiration of the tax credit, we did everything we could at Maple River Energy to keep a core key group of highly trained employees on the job. We took Congress at their word when they promised to make restoring the biodiesel tax credit their first priority in 2010. Congress has failed to live up to that promise.”
Congressional leaders have now set the approaching Memorial Day recess as the deadline for action on the biodiesel tax credit. “As the next so-called deadline rapidly approaches, Maple River Energy continues to lose $12,000 a day because of Congress’ inaction,” stated Johnson. “With no other options left, I am preparing to use our plant’s last remaining cash to fly out to Washington, DC, to share my message with any Congressman or Senator who will listen: ‘Pass the biodiesel tax credit now and Maple River Energy will put our employees back to work immediately. Delay your responsibility again and we may never have that chance. Our future is in your hands.’”
Iowa is the leader in renewable fuels production. Iowa has 14 biodiesel refineries capable of producing nearly 320 million gallons of biodiesel annually.
The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association was formed in 2002 to represent the state’s ethanol and biodiesel producers. The trade group fosters the development and growth of the renewable fuels industry in Iowa through education, promotion, legislation and infrastructure development.
For more information, visit the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association website at: www.IowaRFA.org.