President George W. Bush has touted biodiesel as a key component of his plan to confront high fuel prices.

A farmer-leader of the American Soybean Association (ASA) participated in a renewable fuel summit hosted by the Renewable Fuel Association (RFA) April 25 in Washington, D.C., where the President announced his plan.

"It’s truly rewarding to hear the President of the United States include biodiesel in his plan to address skyrocketing fuel prices," said ASA past-President Bart Ruth, who represented ASA at the RFA summit. "ASA has long advocated that farmers stand ready to help address our nation’s energy needs, and the President validated that point again today."

During his remarks, the President impressed upon listeners the need to continue investing in alternative fuels. He said," research and development has led to new alternative sources of energy like biodiesel. So that’s one of the reasons why I signed into law the first ever federal tax credit for biodiesel producers. In other words, we’re interested in addressing our energy security on a variety of fronts. It makes sense for the United States to have a comprehensive strategy to help us diversify away from oil."

ASA led the charge to enact the biodiesel tax credit in October 2004, as part of the JOBS Act. Ten short months later, the ASA convinced Congress to extend until 2008 this critically important biodiesel provision, which would have expired at the end of this year.

ASA is currently working to extend the biodiesel tax incentive beyond 2008. To that end, ASA supports S. 2401, introduced by U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Max Baucus (D-Mont.), and H.R. 2498, introduced by U.S. Representative Kenny Hulshof (R-Mo.). Both pieces of legislation would extend until 2010 the biodiesel tax incentive.

"Extending the biodiesel tax incentive beyond 2008 is one action Congress can take to help reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil. It’s a top priority for the ASA, and we urge our supporters in both chambers of Congress to cosponsor these vitally important measures," concluded Ruth.

ASA is the policy advocate for 25,000 U.S. soybean producers on domestic and international issues of importance to all U.S. soybean farmers.