On April 3, the Senate Finance Committee approved the Expiring Provisions Improvement Report and Efficiency (EXPIRE) Act, which would extend the tax credit package for two years. Among the tax credits extended by the EXPIRE Act are several biofuels and bioenergy tax credits. They include: a $1.01 per gallon production tax credit (PTC) for biofuels, a $1.00 per gallon PTC for biodiesel and renewable diesel, a 10 cent per gallon small agri-biodiesel producer credit, a 50 cent per gallon alternative fuel tax credit and alternative fuel mixture tax credit. In addition, the bill would extend the bonus depreciation for cellulosic biofuels facilities, as well as the 30 percent investment tax credit for alternative vehicle refueling property. Other renewables are included in the package, including PTCs related to wind, biomass, geothermal, solar, hydropower, and solid waste electricity generation.
The committee voted against an amendment floated by Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), which would remove the PTC for renewable energies, with Senators Grassley (R-IA) and Stabenow (D-MI) both strongly opposed to the amendment. Stabenow remarked that the oil industry has received tax credits since 1916, and that “Congress has picked a winner in the oil industry – and they won. What we’re trying to do is level the playing field and give other American energy [the] opportunity to be able to compete.” Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) re-committed to the need for comprehensive tax reform, commenting “When I joined the Finance committee nearly a decade ago, I couldn’t possibly have imagined chairing Congress’ fifteenth time renewing the stop-and-go tax cuts called ‘extenders.’ … Many of these extenders are well-intentioned and ought to be permanent. Their stop and go nature obviously contributes to the lack of certainty and predictability America needs to create more family wage jobs.” The Finance Committee has given the bill a 2-year expiration date, with the hopes that meaningful tax reform can be achieved by that date. The bill will go to the Senate floor for debate.