What: All Issues : Environment : Renewable Energy : CLEAN Energy Act (H.R. 6), Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) amendment that would prohibit fuel consisting of animal fat mixed with diesel from receiving a tax credit/On the adoption of the amendment (2007 senate Roll Call 221)
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CLEAN Energy Act (H.R. 6), Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) amendment that would prohibit fuel consisting of animal fat mixed with diesel from receiving a tax credit/On the adoption of the amendment
senate Roll Call 221     Jun 20, 2007
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Win

This vote was on an amendment to legislation aiming to reduce the country's dependence on fossil fuels. Proposed by Sen. Jon Kyl (R-ARiz.), the amendment would prohibit federal subsidies for the production of diesel fuel comprised partially of animal fat.

The legislation to which Kyl was seeking to amendment would increase fuel-economy standards for vehicles, mandate the use of 15 billion gallons of ethanol annually by 2015 and provide tax credits and other federal incentives for the production of and further research into biofuels.

Kyl maintained that a provision in energy legislation passed in 2005 was being perverted to create a federal subsidy for a process that Congress never intended to be subsidized, namely the practice of adding animal fat to diesel fuel. Kyl said fuel manufacturers have unfairly taken advantage of a $1 per gallon subsidy that had been intended for new biofuel technologies, to which he claimed this practice did not qualify.

"The idea was primarily to try to get products, such as cellulosic products, that could eventually be added to or be turned into a fuel that could be burned as diesel fuel," Kyl said. The result, he said, was that other industries that use animal fat, namely soap producers, are finding the costs of their raw materials skyrocket. (Cellulosic ethanol is produced from a variety of plant matters.)

Kyl said his amendment was simply getting back to the 2005 legislation's original intent, "which was not to provide this additional $1 per gallon credit for something that could be done anyway," such as adding animal fat to diesel fuel.

Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) responded: "There are a lot of offsetting interests here, to be honest about it, from different parts of the country. Some are more concerned about biodiesel produced from products such as soybeans; others are much more concerned about renewable diesel produced by other products that could be organic products. In trying to get that balance put together, the goal is the same, which is to displace foreign oil."

Kyl's amendment, he said, would only undermine that goal. "I hope, therefore, that the amendment offered by the Senator from Arizona is not agreed to because the effect of it will be not to displace a good bit of foreign oil, which is contrary to the main point of the underlying legislation," Baucus continued.

Kyl's amendment was rejected by a vote of 45 to 49. Sixteen Democrats supported it, and an equal number of Republicans opposed it. The divisions had as much to do with industries within each state as they did ideological differences. Thus, legislation to reduce the country's dependence on fossil fuels went forward without a provision prohibiting producers of diesel mixed with animal fat from receiving a federal tax credit for biofuels.

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