Secretary urges expanding tax credits for clean energy

By Kristin Merony

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, May 31, 2012- Secretary Vilsack reiterated the urgency of expanding tax credits for investments in clean energy manufacturing during a media conference call today with Novozymes President Adam Monroe.

Vilsack and Monroe highlighted a piece of President Obama's congressional "To Do List", the continuation and expansion of tax credits for investments in clean energy manufacturing, to build a foundation to produce new opportunities in rural areas.

Vilsack highlighted Novozymes' new enzyme plant, which opened yesterday in Blair, Neb., as a good example of the emerging bio-based economy that is providing a revitalized rural opportunity. 

He said without taking full advantage of the 48C Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit, a 30 percent tax credit designed and directed to advance energy manufacturing, the plant would not have been possible.

“This manufacturing incentive without a doubt helped us with what we did in Nebraska,” Monroe added. “These are good mechanisms to push toward providing the advanced biofuels that the country and the world will need.”

“We see the potential of the bio-based economy,” Monroe explained. “Biomass is a massive resource in the U.S. and secondly, we are the absolute home of biotechnology know-how in the world. When you combine the two it's a massive strategic resource for the U.S.”

“48C along with other tax credits really create the opportunity for a clean energy future with three important results,” Vilsack said. Those results, he said, include increasing farm income, creating jobs, and reducing our reliance on foreign oil, “creating opportunities in the Midwest, not the Middle East.”

“This is obviously something that needs to continue and there is a great desire and need for it,” he concluded. 

Addressing concerns about the recent Senate Armed Services Committee vote to block the Department of Defense's use of renewable energy fuels, Vilsack said, “We are extremely disappointed in that vote, it fails to recognize and appreciate the enormous potential of this industry to revitalize the rural economy.”

“Transitioning from an economy reliant on fossil fuels to one that has good diversity is a great thing for this country and a great thing for rural America,” he explained. “It is beyond me why we would not help this industry.”  

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