The U.S. biodiesel industry's record growth and resulting job creation is at risk without immediate action from Congress to reinstate the industry's tax incentive, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) said in written testimony submitted to the Senate Finance Committee.

The $1-per-gallon biodiesel tax incentive expired on Dec. 31 for the second time in three years, despite clear evidence that the incentive is working to stimulate production and economic activity.

In her testimony, NBB Vice President of Federal Affairs Anne Steckel emphasized that when the incentive was reinstated last year after a lapse in 2010, it helped boost biodiesel production to a record volume of nearly 1.1 billion gallons in 2011. That volume - triple the production in 2010 - supported more than 39,027 jobs and $3.8 billion in GDP, according to a recent study conducted by Cardno ENTRIX, an international economics consulting firm.

"The biodiesel industry is poised to continue that momentum so long as Congress and the Administration continue supporting strong policies such as the biodiesel tax incentive," she said. "The recent expiration of the $1 per gallon biodiesel tax incentive poses a significant threat to the industry's continued growth."

Under projected expansion, with the tax incentive in place, the industry is expected to support more than 74,000 jobs by 2015 and some $7.3 billion in GDP.

Bipartisan legislation has been introduced in the House and Senate to extend the tax incentive for three years. Wednesday's hearing before the Finance Committee was titled, "Extenders and Tax Reform: Seeking Long-Term Solutions."

Made from an increasingly diverse mix of resources such as agricultural oils, recycled cooking oil and animal fats, biodiesel 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. Biodiesel is a renewable, clean-burning diesel replacement that can be used in existing diesel engines. NBB is the national trade association representing the biodiesel industry.