A biodiesel plant manager in Mississippi is doing his part to bring attention to the growing momentum to reinstate the expired $1-per-gallon biodiesel tax credit, and to reform the incentive so that only domestic producers are eligible for it. Phillip Harden, manager of Scott Petroleum Corp.’s 20 MMgy biodiesel plant in Greenville, Mississippi, has launched a White House petition that seeks 100,000 signatures by April 23 in order to get a response from the administration.
“I have been in the industry for 10 years and have a great passion for what we accomplish environmentally and economically,” Harden said. “With the new administration leaning toward fossil fuels, we are very concerned about the future status of the biodiesel industry. I have spoken with several people across the country—other refineries, feedstock suppliers and our customers—all of whom are concerned that the market conditions are not going to be favorable until the imported fuel is removed from the market.”
Roughly a third of the biomass-based diesel consumed in the U.S. last year came from imported product, totaling nearly 1 billion gallons of biodiesel and renewable diesel from Argentina, Indonesia, Singapore and Canada, among other originating countries. Since its inception well over a decade ago, the U.S. biodiesel tax credit has been set up as a blenders incentive, so imported biodiesel and renewable diesel are eligible once blended into U.S. diesel fuel supplies.
“There are more than 84,000 total jobs possibly at stake, which would result in a loss of more than $11 billion in economic benefits for our country,” Harden said. “And there are many other industries that would be directly impacted by not reinstating and changing tax credit. I think people would like to hear how real this is, and how it impacts everyday Americans.”
Harden said he wants people to know how hard he and thousands of others in the U.S. biodiesel sector have worked as an industry, and that he is driven to educate people about biodiesel and its many economic and environmental benefits to current and future generations. “I have spent my entire adult life dedicated to this industry, and I have made many sacrifices for this industry because I am passionate about it,” he told Biodiesel Magazine.
“Another thing I feel is very important is how much we in the biodiesel sector appreciate the rural farmers of America, and how we are proud to support American agriculture,” Harden said. “Fuel and agriculture are two of the main components of our economics, and it is awesome that we are able to make each other’s successful.”
Finally, Harden said sustainability is equally important. “Crude oil will run out eventually,” he said, “and it is up to the people whether we will be prepared for that.”