When the US Senate signed off on a budget agreement to (at least temporarily) avoid the so-called "fiscal clif," it stirred up plenty of debate among Democrats and Republicans. It is doing the same among those eying the biofuel industry. Here's how the green vehicle scene shakes out for now, including support for some electric vehicles.
In the agreement, many of the biofuel initiatives from 2008's Farm Bill were extended another year to the end of 2013, causing biofuel advocates to say that the budget agreement will save jobs and continue to help lessen dependency on foreign oil, Biofuels Digest reports. Specifically, this week's agreement, which the US House passed by about a 3-to-2 margin, extends the $1.01-per-gallon production tax credit for cellulosic biofuel by another year to the end of 2013. It also retroactively enacts a $1-a-gallon production credit for biodiesel (which ended in December 2011) through the end of the year. Cellulosic biofuel producers will also continue to be able to depreciate 50 percent of their capital costs during the first year of production.
Of course, few federal government budget agreements pass without vocal opposition, and in this case, the Union of Concerned Scientists used the occasion to vent its own frustration. Justin Tatham, senior Washington representative for UCS's Food & Environment Program, called the Farm Bill extension "a disgrace," adding that "Republican leadership copped out at the last second" by continuing to subsidize large agricultural production instead of "smart, sustainable farming practices."
Of course, few federal government budget agreements pass without vocal opposition.
On the electric vehicle front, tax credit worth up to $2,500 from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 for some two- and three-wheeled electric vehicles was extended.