The U.S. biodiesel tax incentive is working as intended to create jobs across the country and reduce America's dependence on foreign oil, according to testimony submitted by the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) Thursday to the House Ways and Means Committee.

"While we understand the pressures facing Congress, this is the wrong time to pull support from a growing American industry that is a rare bright spot in this economy," said Anne Steckel, NBB vice president of federal affairs. "Our industry is having a record year of production, and the tax incentive is a key ingredient in that success. Stripping the incentive away this year would put thousands of jobs in jeopardy."

Steckel's written testimony was submitted to the committee for a hearing on energy tax policy and tax reform. In it, she highlighted the biodiesel industry's rebound this year after the biodiesel tax incentive was reinstated following a one-year lapse in 2010.

Without the incentive, production dropped dramatically last year as dozens of plants shuttered and thousands of people lost jobs. Since its reinstatement this year, biodiesel production is thriving, with plants ramping up production again and hiring new employees. Through July, the industry had produced roughly 475 million gallons compared with 315 million gallons in all of 2010.

This year's increased production of at least 800 million gallons will support more than 31,000 jobs while generating at least $3 billion in GDP and $628 million in federal, state and local tax revenues, according to a recent economic study conducted by Cardno-Entrix.

"We believe the U.S. biodiesel industry offers a clear and compelling case that strong domestic energy policy can boost this economy," she said. "Our production turnaround this year is creating good-paying jobs in nearly every state in the country."

Steckel also highlighted biodiesel's strong public policy benefits. In addition to creating jobs and economic activity, biodiesel is reducing U.S. reliance on foreign oil, bolstering U.S. national security and improving the environment.

Biodiesel is a renewable, clean-burning diesel replacement that can be used in existing diesel engines and meets a strict ASTM fuel specification. Made from an increasingly diverse mix of resources such as agricultural oils, recycled cooking oil and animal fats, it is the first and only commercial-scale fuel used across the U.S. to meet the Environmental Protection Agency's definition as an Advanced Biofuel. It is produced in nearly every state in the country and will support more than 31,000 U.S. jobs in 2011 while replacing nearly 1 billion gallons of petroleum diesel.