Gov. J.B. Pritzker released a balanced budget proposal for the state in which he intends to “close corporate loopholes” to save the state nearly $1 billion. One of these “corporate loopholes” is a wildly successful fuel sales tax exemption for blends of biodiesel 11% or higher. By cutting this incentive, the governor hopes to save $107 million.
This tax incentive has helped Illinois become a leader in the consumption of biodiesel blends. Illinois uses 180 million gallons of biodiesel a year, providing an estimated value of $600 million to Illinois farmers. Furthermore, biodiesel can reduce carbon emissions significantly compared to petroleum diesel fuel, as well as improve air quality through lower particulate emissions.
As the world trends toward a lower-carbon future, biodiesel is integral to providing a diverse mix of fuels to mitigate the effects of climate change. Now is not the time to scale back incentives promoting green jobs that revitalize rural economies, clean the air, and reduce carbon emissions in our fight against change.
Policymakers have been pushing the electrification agenda heavily in recent years. Some people in the biodiesel space see a utopian future in which biodiesel can peacefully coexist with electrification. There are those who say we need to embrace electrification in a collective effort to curb carbon emissions.
Only a small fraction of U.S. power, however, is renewable today. According to the Energy Information Administration, this share was 17% in 2019. The same agency predicts that, by 2050, nearly 30 years from now, only 42% of our power will come from renewable energy. The remainder, 58%, will still come from fossil fuels and nuclear sources.
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But those who are pushing the electrify-everything agenda to the detriment of other clean, renewable, sustainable fuels are hoping people won’t notice this. This approach only appears to be shifting carbon emissions from tailpipes to smokestacks.
We need to advocate loudly and convincingly today for a diverse, low-carbon energy future tomorrow. It makes no sense to kill an incentive that fights climate change to save a few dollars while proponents of electrification plan to spend untold trillions to prop up an energy economy that won’t even be half renewable by 2050.
We can reconcile our nation’s prosperity and economic livelihood with climate-conscious endeavors. This must be done, however, in an energy-diverse, inclusionary way. Accomplishing our collective goals does not begin with repealing successful policies that incentivize lower-carbon fuels.
Ron Kotrba, editor and publisher, Biobased Diesel Daily
COVID spending on police
On the way home from the grocery store this evening, not seeing well because my glasses fogged up and I removed them, I came upon a collection of tents and large trucks. Through the myopic haze, I also made out the flashing blue lights of police cars. I thought it might be a neighborhood food distribution effort, or maybe local restaurants were getting together in an innovative way to help their businesses. Or even a vaccine distribution.
But no, it was a movie being filmed in our picturesque though COVID-ridden and economically desperate neighborhood. I couldn’t see how many police cars were dedicated to this filming activity, but my mind did go to the news that COVID relief money in Chicago was allocated to the police department instead of to help the people in the neighborhoods. And (if minds can smell) my mind smelled something rotten.
Rebecca Wolfram, Lawndale