As the American Soybean Association (ASA) continues its push for passage of a biodiesel tax incentive in Washington, D.C., the 25,000 soybean producer members of ASA are pleased that Congressional leaders continued to express support for renewable fuels today in a hearing by the U.S. House Small Business Subcommittee on Rural Enterprises, Agriculture and Technology. The hearing was called at the request of the Subcommittee’s Chairman, U.S. Representative Sam Graves (R-MO).”ASA members are encouraged by the continued show of support for renewable fuels and we thank Chairman Graves for calling the hearing in recognition of the importance of cleaner burning soy biodiesel and other renewable fuels to agriculture and all Americans,” said ASA President Ron Heck, a soybean farmer from Perry, Iowa.ASA’s top legislative priority is securing passage of a biodiesel tax incentive that amounts to one penny per percentage point of biodiesel blended with petroleum diesel. The incentive would increase biodiesel use, protect the environment and decrease foreign oil use.U.S. Representative Kenny Hulshof (R-MO), one of the strongest proponents of biodiesel in Congress and author of legislation establishing a tax credit to encourage consumers to use the fuel, testified at the hearing. “We need a federal energy policy that will further encourage the use of biodiesel,” Hulshof said. “One need look no further than the rising prices at the gas station to see why we must strengthen our commitment to renewable fuels. Every gallon of diesel fuel that we displace with a gallon of domestically produced biodiesel will lessen our dependence on foreign oil.”Also providing testimony was Joe Jobe, Executive Director of the National Biodiesel Board, who said, “The importance of biodiesel as an alternative fuel to the nation’s economy has never been greater, and its value promises to grow even larger. Oil prices are at all-time highs and are once again threatening the American economy. It is time for the United States to embrace energy policies which will improve our energy security, protect the environment, and stimulate our economy.”In 1999, biodiesel sales amounted to about half a million gallons nationwide. In 2003, national biodiesel sales jumped to about 25 million gallons, making it the fastest growing alternative fuel in the country, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.