US Senate balks on biodiesel tax credit bill

16 June 2010 21:45  [Source: ICIS news]

Senate balksHOUSTON (ICIS news)--The US Senate failed to cut off debate on a bill containing biodiesel blending tax credit, sending the legislative package back into limbo, sources said on Wednesday.

US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Democrat-Nevada) seemed uncertain to have the 60 votes necessary to send the bill out of debate and onto the floor for approval, sources said.

Senator Max Baucus (Democrat-Montana) was said to be reworking an amendment to the bill that would ease its passage, Senate and industry sources said.

National Biodiesel Board (NBB) spokesman Michael Frohlich said senators wanted to trim the bill’s price tag.

“They have to trim the package,” Frohlich said. “People are worried about voting to add to the deficit, so it’s back to the drawing table.”

The House approved the legislative package in May after reducing its total cost to $112bn (€91bn) from $174bn.  

Since the credit's expiration at the end of 2009, biodiesel producers have been wracked by shutdowns and layoffs as they struggled to compete without the subsidy against the price of petroleum diesel.

Brokers have also said the lack of a decision on the credit has made pricing the renewable fuel difficult.

The industry is currently running at 10% or less of capacity, according to government statistics.

($1 = €0.81)

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