SenateTax-Writing Committee Considers Energy Tax Policy; No Discussion of Biodiesel

The Senate Finance Committee on May 14 held a hearing on energy tax policy, the first committee hearing on this topic in the current Congress.  The truckstop and travel plaza industry's primary interests in this space at the present time are the $1.00/gallon biodiesel blenders' tax credit, as well as the $0.50/gallon alternative fuel tax credit and alternative fuel mixture tax credit (applicable to sales of LNG and CNG, among other fuels).  These provisions, which are scheduled to expire at the end of 2016, were not discussed at the hearing.

Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said he supports an "all-of-the-above" approach to energy policy and is in favor of promoting alternative energy sources, but does not think the cost of existing energy sources should be increased to achieve that goal.  The Committee's top Democrat, Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) urged the extension of tax incentives for renewable energy technologies that were left out of the 2015 tax extenders package  (biodiesel and natural gas credits were included in this legislation). Sen. Wyden also called for a new technology-neutral approach on energy policy that includes just three incentives, "built around simple, clear goals -- cleaner energy, cleaner transportation, and energy efficiency."
 
It appears as though Congress will consider energy tax extenders later this year, likely after the Presidential election during a "lame duck" session of Congress. NATSO will advocate for the extension of the biodiesel and natural gas tax credits, and oppose converting the biodiesel blenders' tax credit to a producers' tax credit. 
 
"The sooner Democrats and Republicans come together, take care of these energy extenders and clear the decks, the sooner we can turn to finding a smarter, fresh approach to energy tax policy," Sen. Wyden, said at the hearing.

One witness at the hearing, Steve Miller, CEO of Oregon-based Bulk Handling Systems and Zero Waste Energy, bemoaned that tax incentives for biomass generation will expire at the end of this year, and said that is hurting companies such as his.  He called on Congress to extend those credits for five years with no phase out, and allow the biogas that is used as a transportation fuel to qualify  -- it currently only qualifies if used to produce electricity.

 

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David Fialkov

David Fialkov is the Vice President of Government Relations, as well as the Legislative and Regulatory Counsel, at NATSO. In this capacity, Mr. Fialkov direct's NATSO's legislative, regulatory, and legal strategy on a range of issues, including transportation, energy and fuels, labor, data security, and taxes. Mr. Fialkov also oversees NATSO's political engagement program, including individualized legal and political counsel to member companies. Prior to joining NATSO, Mr. Fialkov was the senior associate in the Government Affairs and Public Policy practice at the law firm of Steptoe and Johnson in Washington, D.C. At Steptoe, Mr. Fialkov advised clients on legislative, regulatory, and political issues, as well as legal concerns. His primary clients included trade associations representing the motor fuel wholesale and retail industries, including the National Association of Convenience Stores and the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America. Mr. Fialkov's focus was not only on the motor fuels business, but also the litany of other issues that retailers confront, including labor matters, foodservice issues, healthcare and employment issues, tax matters and data security. Prior to joining Steptoe, Mr. Fialkov graduated with honors from George Washington University Law School. He received his B.S. Summa cum laude with highest honors from Clark University in Worcester, MA. He lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife Allison and daughter Lilah. More
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