WASHINGTON — Last night congressional lawmakers reached an agreement on a $1.1 trillion spending bill that not only funds the government until 2016, but also contains a tax extenders package which includes several provisions of significant importance to the biofuels industry. The bill contains a two-year extension of the Second Generation Biofuel Producer Tax Credit, the Special Depreciation Allowance for Second Generation Biofuel Plant Property, and the Alternative Fuel Mixture Tax Credit. Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, released the following statement:
“By including these important tax incentives in the spending bill, congressional lawmakers sent a strong signal that they are interested in ensuring and encouraging the continued growth and innovation of our nation’s biofuels industry” said Dinneen. “These incentives are crucial for leveling the playing field in a tax code that is, unfortunately, overwhelmingly tilted toward the oil and gas industry. Oil companies have long benefited from billions in accelerated depreciation, intangible drilling expenses, and countless other tax breaks that are permanently imbedded in the tax code. Fundamental tax reform is critical to correct this imbalance.”
Lawmakers also included a repeal of Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) in the spending bill. COOL is a labeling law that requires retailers to notify their customers with information regarding the source of certain food and agricultural products. The World Trade Organization (WTO) had determined COOL violated trade agreements and recently ruled Canada and Mexico could seek up to $1 billion in retaliatory tariffs. Canada had previously threatened to place ethanol on a list of products that could be subject to retaliatory tariffs if the law was not repealed.
“The repeal of COOL removes a long-standing threat to the continued fair and free trade of ethanol with Canada. Its repeal will allow domestic producers to be able to trade ethanol in the global marketplace without fear of a retaliatory tariff from our largest ethanol export market,” said Dinneen.