Government Spending

Build Back Better Bill Would Lavish New Corporate Subsidies on Biofuel Industry

The $3.5 trillion bill includes a new program to subsidize the makers of "sustainable aviation fuel."

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President Joe Biden has defended the tax increases he's proposed to pay for his Build Back Better plan on the grounds that they'll level the playing field between the rich and the rest of us.

"It's fiscally responsible, because our investments are paid for that by making sure that corporations and the wealthy Americans pay their fair share," said the president in a White House speech Thursday.

That rhetoric is in friction with some of the details of the $3.5 billion Build Back Better bill currently working its way through the House. It would alter the tax code to provide new subsidies to a biofuel industry that's already received $12 billion in government support since 2016.

The bill would create a new "sustainable aviation fuel tax credit" program, which would provide a minimum $1.25 credit to fuel blenders for every gallon of biofuel they include in their fuel mixes intended for use in aviation.

To qualify for the tax credit, these fuel mixtures would have to be produced in the U.S. and produce half as much life cycle greenhouse gas compared to traditional petroleum-based jet fuel. Fuels that produce even less greenhouse gas could qualify for as much as $1.75 in tax credits per gallon.

The program is closely modeled on the federal government's existing biodiesel tax credit program, which provides fuel blenders with a $1 tax credit for every gallon of biodiesel they include in their fuel mixtures. That program costs taxpayers about $3 billion a year.

How much a biofuel tax credit just for the aviation industry will cost is anyone's guess.

In May, Congress' Joint Committee on Taxation said a $2 per gallon sustainable aviation fuel credit included in Senate Democrats' Clean Energy for America Act would cost only about $300 million over ten years. The White House budget proposal for fiscal year 2022, however, estimated a $1.75 per gallon tax credit would cost $6.6 billion over ten years.

The credit in the House's Build Back Better bill is estimated to cost $600 million, says Sheila Karpf with Taxpayers for Common Sense. But, she says, "the cost could increase significantly."

A lot depends on how much biofuel airlines end up using. Currently, they use very little. Earlier in September, Airlines for America, a trade association representing major airlines, set a goal for its members to use 3 billion gallons of sustainable aviation fuel a year by 2030.

Which fuels actually qualify for the subsidy also matters a lot. Biofuels made from palm oil—which produce less greenhouse gas when used but also require leveling rainforests to make—aren't eligible for the tax credit in the House's Build Back Better bill.

The House bill's method for calculating a fuel's carbon emissions would also likely exclude ethanol and soybean-based biofuels. Reuters reports that some representatives are trying to amend the bill to let the Biden administration decide how to calculate carbon emissions, likely so that more fuels make the cut.

The very idea of trying to cut carbon emission by boosting biofuel use is controversial in environmental circles. You need to use more agricultural land to grow the crops they're derived from, which counter the lower carbon emissions of the fuel.

Prior to Biden's endorsement of subsidies for sustainable aviation fuel, airlines themselves were split on using more biofuels. United has been trying to increase its usage since 2019. American Airlines CEO Doug Parker has argued that his company has done more for the environment by flying a fleet of newer, more fuel-efficient planes.

Forbes contributor Gary Leff argues that the one way to lessen the carbon emissions of the airline industry is to keep ticket prices low. That helps keep individual flights full, lowering the per-passenger emissions of each flight. It also makes air travel more competitive against carbon-spewing cars.

If more biofuel use increases airlines' operating costs, and thus ticket prices, that could have a negative impact on carbon emissions and the environment, even if the fuel itself lets off less greenhouse gas.

Environmental impacts aside, proposals for an aviation biofuels subsidy would still end up giving a lot of taxpayer support to well-heeled corporations.

"The industry does not need any more subsidies. We've already subsidized biofuels for four decades," says Karpf. "The industry is already very mature. It doesn't need more government support."

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  1. Democrats have zero chance of pushing anything through now, and Senile Joe cannot find his pudding or his crayon to sign something.

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  2. Will these aviation biofuels also work in a helicropter?

    1. Not sustainably.

    2. “Sustainable aviation fuel” is whatever will keep that baby up in the air.

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  3. A very informative issue to discuss , thanks

  4. If more biofuel use increases airlines’ operating costs, and thus ticket prices, that could have a negative impact on carbon emissions and the environment, even if the fuel itself lets off less greenhouse gas.

    “You want us to consider the Big Picture?! That’s just crazy talk!!”

  5. I suppose it’s technically possible to replace all fossil fuels with plant oil. Right?

    1. I work in the biofuels industry. Replacing ALL fossil fuels with bio-derived fuels is a distant possibility if one is comfortable with growing less food. While it is usually side-stepped when talking about small amounts of fuels, at some point that corn, soy, rice, and wheat will be needed to fuel your cars, trucks, and planes.

      But we all know that CO2 from burning plants is way different from CO2 derived from fossil fuels. Right?

      1. But we all know that CO2 from burning plants is way different from CO2 derived from fossil fuels. Right?

        You being sarcastic or conservative?

        CO2 from burning plants is part of a cycle. Into the air, into the plant, burn it , into the air, into the plant….

        That’s a stupid and/or dishonest as comparing exhaling to fossil fuel exhaust.

        Fossil fuels are trapped hydrocarbons that add CO2 that’s not part of the system. It’s outside the cycle.

        So yeah, burning plants is way different than burning fossil fuels, because those fuels are what’s left of plants that have been underground for millions of years.

        1. So yeah, burning plants is way different than burning fossil fuels

          So very, very broken.

          1. It’s basic fucking science that human activity has increased CO2.

            Is this good? Is this bad? Does it warrant government intervention?

            I say dunno, dunno, fuck no.

            1. It’s basic fucking science that human activity has increased CO2.

              The world’s greatest detective, folks.

              “Look, White Mike, the Virtue Signal!” DOODLEEDOODLEEDOO!

              1. seriously?

              2. Mike would have said c20 to be fair.

        2. a) They are increasing the organic supply for the bio fuel plants, it is not “naturally” occurring as they are creating in excess as what would normally occur.

          b) you are ignoring the carbon that is absorbed through the decomposition, namely insects and such sequestering carbon as it helps plants decompose.

          c) burning the biofuel ends the carbon capture process of converting carbon into oxygen based on reduced life period of the plant, artificially limiting the exchange during growth when the release of carbon occurs.

          d) Carbon cycle can be managed if done in a perfectly sustainable way. But it requires active management of the fuel source as well as the burning.

          e) But in fact, biomass burning power plants emit 150% the CO2 of coal, and 300 – 400% the CO2 of natural gas, per unit energy produced.

          https://www.pfpi.net/carbon-emissions

          f) You being sarcastic or conservative?

          Always the instigator. You can’t help it. Please don’t pretend to be a scientist next.

          1. You would think that it would take up all his time pretending to be a libertarian.

          2. If you actually want to have a conversation, then try responding to something I actually said.

            1. Lol. See a through e retard. A, b and c are direct reputations of your natural cycle claims.

              How stupid do you want to look today?

          3. Biomass burning power plants have a different cycle than biofuels. Biomass plants are burning naturally growing “waste wood”. And yes, as noted in that article, burning them in an hour rather than waiting for the same CO2 to degrade over decades has a net carbon vollume increase.

            But when you talk about bio fuels, you are talking about growing a plant this season (which sequesters C02 during the summer) then refining it and burning it, which releases the C02. I don’t know the maths on that, but it is a different set of maths than biomass incinerators.

            1. I’d also note that because CO2 is a byproduct of the energy storage process, I am skeptical that you can have a net-neutral CO2 cycle. Yes, you are using sunlight and organic processes to sequester CO2 out of the air to be released later. However, those organic processes aren’t a closed cycle. You have fields to tend with machinery, pesticides and fungicides created with machinery, which needs to be sprayed with machinery. Then you have to use a bunch of machinery to reap, refine and transport this biofuel before it is spent. All that machinery needs energy- either from biofuels or something else.

              This isn’t exactly a perpetual motion machine (because the real thermo dynamic question is whether or not you can get as much energy out of a plot of biofuel than you spend growing it) but it is somewhat close because each C02 atom is created as part of the energy exchange process (it is the oxygenation (burning) of the fuel that releases energy and creates the C02 molecule). And so if the plot of land isn’t net energy positive, it very likely isn’t CO2 neutral either. /shrug.

            2. I referred too many of your points in d, just succinctly. It can be managed. But by reducing the longevity of a tree from 50 years to 10 years much of the carbon to oxygen benefit is lowered, and quite significantly. That is why the management is very particular to keep carbon footprints of these managed ecosystems contained and reduced carbon expulsions.

              1. Most biofuels have nothing to do with trees. They are corn or switchgrass or some other high starch/sugar content, fast yield crop.

                BioMass is certainly a fun racket, but it is noteworthy that in places like florida they have been fleecing loophole-seeking Europeans for years by selling them quick-growing wood (converted to pellets) that they put in their biowaste burners. This has been especially galling to Euro elites who see “growing cheap wood in Florida” as a gauche and distasteful alternative to pricing plebes out of the energy market while elites have their farm to table gourmet dinners in courtyards lit by edison lightbulbs.

  6. guess where coal and oil come from. thats right plants and animals, the original bio fuel

    1. ^THIS….. I think leftards just like to feel special by pointing guns and dictating no matter what the subject is.

    2. More accurately, fossil fuels are the original solar power. They’re taking millions of years of chlorophyll and condensing it into syrup and stone.

      1. Except for nuclear power, all energy on the planet comes from the sun.

        1. If we’re being specific, even nuclear came from a sun, just not our solar system’s. It’s thought to be the result of supernovas, fascinating link:

          https://world-nuclear.org/information-library/nuclear-fuel-cycle/introduction/what-is-uranium-how-does-it-work.aspx

          1. Very interesting stuff.

        2. Yeah. True. Never thought of it that way, but that’s right on.

          1. Stoned, or drunk? Make your guesses, folks!

            1. Yeah, like totally, I mean, you know, but, and stuff.

        3. And nuclear power comes from the death of other suns.

        4. Except for nuclear power, all energy on the planet comes from the sun.

          Geothermal heat does not come from the sun and without it, the Earth would not be habitable.

          “the vast majority of the heat in Earth’s interior—up to 90 percent—is fueled by the decaying of radioactive isotopes”

          https://phys.org/news/2006-03-probing-earth-core.html

          1. As Carl Sagan and Neil DeGrasse-Tyson observed and Moby popularized: “We Are All Made of Stars.”

  7. I know; we can subsidize power, subsidize fuel, subsidize WELL HECK – !!EVERYTHING!! ……………. Then it’ll be 100% a National Socialist (i.e. Nazism) Utopia JUST LIKE the LEFTARDS in this nation want … I guess we’ll all just forget about freedom and the USA. Useless Power-Mad bosses dictating and stealing from everyone with GOV-GUNS is the new ‘cool kids’ dream boat…

    And by all means; When local leftard pile’s of sh*t comes crashing to the ground be sure to jump on someone else’s pile and go NATIONALLY with your Power-Mad criminalistic mentality.

    1. Conquer and Consume isn’t sustainable.
      Gov-Gun Power =/= Wealth or prosperity.

      Where the heck did common-sense go?

      1. It’s spelled commune-sense.

  8. “Build Back Better” is an attempt at an ‘uplifting’ slogan to cover mass immiseration and death. Like “Arbeit Macht Frei” eight decades ago.

    (Yes, Godwin. The jackboots fit, and the Democrats can damn well wear them.)

    1. Pol Pot approves.

    2. That’s impossible. Nazi’s are on the right of the spectrum. It is known.

      /s just in case.

    3. Just try it for 5 years. If you don’t like it, you can keep your old plan.

  9. isn’t fuel in practice unsustainable?

    1. Eventually the universe is doomed to end cold and dark. So, yes.

      1. Big Rip denier!

      2. Lok at Mr. Morbid, Morose Goth Kid here!

  10. Because what could possible make more sense than burning food for fuel?

    1. Let them eat jet fuel!

      1. Environmentalists have been looking for ways to decrease the population. Just round up all the undesirables and put them in some sort of room and then fill them with the fossil fuels.

        You could maybe call them “fossil fuel rooms” but that’s a mouthful. I’m sure there’s something catchier.

        1. They say that, but then they howl and moan that people aren’t taking a vaccine for “the deadliest disease ever11!1!1!”

        2. Fossil Fuel Storage and abbreviate it FFS.

        3. Gas chambers?

          1. Too soon.

        4. Saw a movie about this. Some guy killing evil fossil fuel users. It starred Sequester Stallone.

    2. “It’s fiscally responsible, because our investments are paid for that by making sure that corporations and the wealthy Americans pay their fair share,” said the president in a White House speech Thursday.

      Whatever you say, shit for brains.

      And regarding bio fuel:

      If aviation biofuel is anything like “flex fuel”, which your piece of shit Ford or Chevy might have been built to use in the hopes one day Congress would mandate using it for mid-west lobbyists, it’ll get way less mileage for slightly less cost. This will be a good metric on exactly how much lobbying money has to be spent on the Democrats to create favorable policy.

      To save the planet, of course.

    3. So I’ve heard, the Kosovars did that with the Meals, Ready-To-Eat (MREs) that were sent to them by the U.S.in the late 1990s. The MREs were certified Vegan and acceptable to all living world religions too.

      I take that as a sign that Vegan not only sucks, but sucks BIG!

  11. Environmental impacts aside, proposals for an aviation biofuels subsidy would still end up giving a lot of taxpayer support to well-heeled corporations.Democrat donors

    FTFY

    1. Biofuel is a truly non-partisan grift. It’s a perfect example of why anytime there is legislation that the media calls “non-partisan” I know I’m getting fucked from both ends.

  12. If more biofuel use increases airlines’ operating costs, and thus ticket prices, that could have a negative impact on carbon emissions and the environment, even if the fuel itself lets off less greenhouse gas.

    If ticket prices go up, people will fly less. To the limited degree that they substitute other modes of transportation, those have a smaller carbon footprint.

    So, I’m not exactly sure by what mechanism you think there will be a “negative impact on carbon emissions and the environment”.

    1. It looks like the author tries to explain it in the preceding paragraph. Not sure that explanation flies though. Per passenger emissions isn’t the same as total emissions.

      1. Per passenger stats rely on the assumption that the person would be traveling anyway but choose a cheaper, more politico method of transportation.

        For some that is true but a huge chunk of leisure travel is predicated on affordability. Most people aren’t likely to drive from Chicago to Wally World based on airfare alone.

  13. Something around 40% of the corn grown in the US goes directly to biofuel.

    If I was an “environmentalist,” I would argue that expanding the use of farmland to grow biofuel crops degrades the land, increases the use of fertilizers and pesticides, and, in reality, is nothing but a “payoff” to large farming interests.

    On the other hand, if I was NOT an environmentalist, I would argue that over a third of the corn grown for biofuels is recycled as animal feed, and the rest is exported at a profit. And, since farming, utilizing GMO-developed crops, has reduced it’s use of pesticides, fertilizers, and, in some cases, even water, that is far more “sustainable” than just a few years ago. And, it’s just a payoff to big farmers.

    What to do? Biofuel production is a mature industry, as is solar-energy, and should have to compete in a free market.

    Stop the subsidies and let the market decide.

    1. The market has decided, which is why it needs subsidies.

    2. Do you remember a decade and a half back when they added the biofuel requirements and food prices skyrocketed? Staples, like tortillas and bread. Not just here, but Mexico (that I know of).

      Used to be you could make sammiches fer cheap to feed your kids lunch… now a loaf of bread is more than double the cost it was in the early 21st century.

      I know it won’t happen ,because government, but it would be interesting to see what happens to the crop mix without biofuel subsidies. More human feed and animal feed, I’d guess. But after that change you could drive through Illinois and all you’d see was corn, corn, soy, corn, soy, soy, corn… and the corn was mostly not the human eating kind.

    3. Evnironmentally biofuels and large scale battery production are both net losses. The upside for environmentalist is that they don’t live neither those farms or strip mines. Out of sight, out of the conversation.

      1. Given the lack of the availability of low-cost carbon based batteries, or the equivalent, anytime in the near future, the only way practical way “store” energy is in the form of heat. The newish complex in Nevada uses solar energy (a focused mirror array) to create steam to power generators. The excess energy is stored as heat to power the generators when the sun ain’t shining. Not a bad idea. One problem is that the cost of the energy is about six-to-seven times the cost of hydro-generated electricity. It might be practical to power cities and in the desert (Las Vegas), near where the electricity is produced, since the power loss through power transmission could be minimized, but it’s still really expensive.

        1. Another problem is it cooks birds in flight and anything daft enough to crawl or slither close when the mirrors are active.

  14. We should go back to killing whales for oil. That’s much more natural and bio-whatever, right?

    1. Better yet: we should bio-engineer whales so they produce more oil and walk around and graze like cattle — like a modern brontosaurus. No more worry about spending monies thinning the forests — just let the bronto-whales eat them,

      1. I like the cut of your jib.

      2. Or we could harpoon fat fursonas.

      3. And instead of killing them, just give them a gentle sedative and then liposuction the blubber. When they awake, we have fuel and the whales are slim and svelte and sexy (though we’ll have to keep them away from the John McAfees of the world.)

        1. “John” was John McAffee?

          The timing of the disappearance makes sense.

          1. Which “John”? There’s so many of them, as any motel registry will attest.

      4. A whale of an idea. Doesn’t seem fishy at all.

        1. Certainly not fishy, since– contrary to Jack-Leg Preachers talking about Jonah– a whale is a mammal and not a fish.

          The only down side to the idea is, for a whale, a horse-pill sedative would have to be, well, as big as a horse.

  15. As long as we burn 2 gallons of fossil fuel for each 1 gallon of plant fuel produced, all of the grifters will be happy.

    1. I’d be shocked if it were only 2:1

    2. For every tree you plant, I cut down two.

  16. Man I bet Koch is gonna be upset someone else is getting his subsidies now.

    1. As long as he has limitless illegal immigration, he won’t give a shit about fuel subsidies.

  17. Forbes contributor Gary Leff argues that the one way to lessen the carbon emissions of the airline industry is to keep ticket prices low. That helps keep individual flights full, lowering the per-passenger emissions of each flight. It also makes air travel more competitive against carbon-spewing cars.

    If more biofuel use increases airlines’ operating costs, and thus ticket prices, that could have a negative impact on carbon emissions and the environment, even if the fuel itself lets off less greenhouse gas.

    Knock that logic shit off this instant, Mr. Smartypants.

  18. The grift is evolving… Prices go up when?

    Fuck Joe Bifen. My truck and tools say, fuck ethanol.

    1. And fuck tiny phone keyboards and autocucumber.

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  20. Fantastic, that is exactly what we need. The fossil fuel industry has enjoyed subsidies forever, and I’ve never heard libertarians whine about that unfair advantage.

    Libertarians don’t want to face it, but our government has been instrumental in our success as a nation. From the Transcontinental Railroad, to rural electrification, to computers and the internet there are many examples.

    1. lmao…. Politicians didn’t make any of that stuff. Working people did you dumb*ss.

      1. ..And 2nd you lie; the oil and gas industry does not get subsidies.

  21. The first, fundamental subsidy is public sanction for the elected and their appointees, their bureaucrats, to run our lives, violate our life, liberty, property (civil asset forfeiture, tax, eminent domain), and happiness, e.g., passports of any kind.
    Public exemption of morality for officials is irrational, impractical. It’s self-servitude. Is fear stronger than common sense?

  22. Another stupid waste of tax money. In coming decades Hyperlink type vacuum pipes will replace domestic airline travel and solar generated hydrogen fuel cells will power international aircraft. There is no need to subsidize the creation of an uneconomical biofuel industry.

  23. Evnironmentally biofuels and large scale battery production are both net losses. The upside for environmentalist is that they don’t live neither those farms or strip mines. Out of sight, out of the conversation.

    https://www.news000k.com/2021/06/Toyota-Camry-2022.html

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