Home 5 Ag Stories Western Dubuque Biodiesel testifies on biodiesel’s contributions to economy

Western Dubuque Biodiesel testifies on biodiesel’s contributions to economy

Photo by Ben Nuelle

Tuesday, Thomas R. Brooks, General Manager of Western Dubuque Biodiesel, LLC — a member of the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) — thanked the House Small Business Committee for considering small biodiesel producers’ important components of the clean energy economy. Brooks spoke at a hearing on “Growing the Clean Energy Economy” before the Subcommittee on Rural Development, Agriculture, Trade, and Entrepreneurship, chaired by Rep. Abby Finkenauer (D-IA).

“Our small business is a large economic presence in our small community,” Brooks stated. “Moreover, we are delivering clean energy right now, today. Strong, consistent federal policy is needed to ensure continued success.”

Western Dubuque Biodiesel employs 24 workers at its plant in Farley, Iowa, and hires 28 contract truck drivers, with a combined payroll of $3.7 million. Nationwide, the biodiesel industry in 2018 generated $17.0 billion in total U.S. economic impact, supported 65,600 U.S. jobs and paid $2.5 billion in wages, according to a recent study by LMC International.

Brooks informed the Subcommittee that the industry’s growth over the past decade-and-a-half was supported by successful policies such as the biodiesel tax incentive and the Renewable Fuel Standard. However, instability in those federal policies is forcing small businesses to reduce investments and shutter production facilities.

“It’s ironic that EPA has shown such concern for the economic hardships facing small petroleum refineries,” Brooks stated. “The small refinery exemptions the agency is granting to every refiner that asks are simply shifting the hardship to even smaller biodiesel producers — small businesses like mine.”

Made from an increasingly diverse mix of resources such as recycled cooking oil, soybean oil and animal fats, biodiesel is a renewable, clean-burning diesel replacement that can be used in existing diesel engines without modification. It is the nation’s first domestically produced, commercially available advanced biofuel. NBB is the U.S. trade association representing the entire biodiesel value chain, including producers, feedstock suppliers, and fuel distributors, as well as the U.S. renewable diesel industry.