Renewable Chemical Production Tax Could Aid Biotech Industry

Industries including biotech could be boosted if a new bill that provides tax credits for companies that manufacture products using renewable chemicals passes. Industry leaders emphasize that the legislation, called the Qualifying Renewable Chemical Production Tax Credit of 2012, would also drive sustainable innovation.

The legislation would affect products made from renewable sources, including switchgrass, algae, soybeans and non-harvested wheat, according an announcement earlier this year on the website of Congressman Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.), who co-introduced the legislation in the House with Congressman Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.).

This month, the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), a trade association, on behalf of its members (many of which are small emerging companies), thanked Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) for introducing the legislation, which would span across several job sectors, in the Senate.

BIO explains that biotechnology harnesses cellular and biomolecular processes to develop technologies and products that help reduce the environmental footprint, are more eco-efficient in industrial processes and are also used for life-changing medical procedures.

 

Switchgrass is plentiful, easy to grow in tough soil and a better choice for bioethanol than corn or sugarcane.

 

The legislation would establish a production tax credit of 15 cents per pound of eligible content of renewable chemicals produced during the taxable year, according to Biomass Magazine.

While recent reports underscore expansion in the biotech industry, the legislation, it is said, would generate more manufacturing jobs and help sectors like agricultural production and forestry and construction, as well as transportation and distribution.

“The bio-based products industry employs nearly 100,000 people today, according to an Iowa State [Center for Industrial Research and Service] study, and it can create hundred(s) of thousands of jobs in the near future, with the right government policy,” said Brent Erickson, the executive vice president of BIO’s Industrial and Environmental section. “Innovative biotechnology processes provide significant new opportunities to revitalize manufacturing here in the United States,” he told Bio.org.

In addition to job opportunities, the production tax credit could help accelerate products that are vital to the medical sector. BIO reports that there are over 250 biotechnology health-care products and vaccines that are available for treatments, with some used for previously untreatable diseases.

Biotechnology CEOs told Bio.org that the tax incentive supports the development of innovative green products that can give the United States a competitive edge in biotech.

Just this week, reports reveal that BioNJ, another biotechnology industry trade group, indicated a 13 percent growth in the industry since 2010.

 

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