Pennsylvania Senate OKs biodiesel bills

| 12/19/2007

Two bills halfway through the Pennsylvania statehouse are intended to boost the state’s use of biofuels through production subsidies and content requirements.

As part of a special session that included efforts to promote alternative fuel efforts, Senators voted to advance the bills to the House for further consideration. The content requirement legislation would require biodiesel to be added to each gallon of diesel sold in the state in increasing amounts as in-state production of biodiesel reaches certain thresholds.

Sponsored by Sen. Mary Jo White, R-Venango, the bill – SB36 – would require all diesel to contain at least 2 percent biodiesel when in-state production reaches 60 million gallons. A 5 percent requirement would be mandated once production reaches 150 million gallons. According to the National Biodiesel Board’s Web site, current production in Pennsylvania is about 115 million gallons annually.

Subsequent thresholds for 10 percent biodiesel and 20 percent biodiesel would kick in at 300 million gallons and 600 million gallons, respectively.

The subsidies bill – SB22 – would give biodiesel producers 75 cents per gallon. It would allot $5.25 million annually. The extra subsidies would expire by 2011.

Sponsored by Sen. Tommy Tomlinson, R-Bucks, the bill also would increase the per-gallon subsidy from 5 cents to 10 cents for production of other alternative fuels.

The bills are awaiting assignment to committee in the House. However, final passage will have to wait until after the first of the year when the second year of the two-year session convenes.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Pennsylvania in 2007, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor