Illinois Soybean Association, city of Moline recognized for biodiesel efforts
The Illinois Soybean Association announced Dec. 14 that it has received the Illinois Alliance for Clean Transportation’s 2022 Sustainable Transportation Awards.
These awards are given annually to organizations and individuals that take actions to locally reduce vehicle emissions and improve air quality.
ISA received IACT’s Policy Leadership Award for successfully spearheading efforts to pass biodiesel legislation in Illinois.
The legislation, passed in April, extends the state’s sales-tax incentive that exempts diesel fuel blended with more than 10 percent biodiesel—commonly resulting in a B11 blend—from the state’s 6.25 percent sales tax through 2023 and steadily increases the required biodiesel percentage from blends over 10 percent to blends over 19 percent by 2026.
The legislation is expected to expand access to B20 blends at more than 85 percent of public retail stations and a majority of fleet fueling centers in Illinois.
It also included a first-of-its-kind exemption for renewable diesel blends that meet the same percentage requirements as biodiesel.
The new law is expected to strengthen the tax incentive’s existing health and environmental benefits and boost in-state biodiesel demand by an estimated 125 million gallons on top of the current 160 million gallons of annual demand.
ISA set out to renew and expand the expiring biodiesel sales tax exemption in 2020 to ensure demand for biodiesel continued. ISA partnered with Indigenous Energy, the American Lung Association, members of the B20 Club of Illinois, in-state advocates, and organizations like the Illinois Farm Bureau to educate legislators on the benefits of biodiesel.
Their successful two-year campaign included educational sessions with leading fleets such as Ozinga Bros., the Chicago Park District, the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, and the Village of Arlington Heights, as well as events at Illinois’ capitol and more.
The events were used as an opportunity to educate legislators on the health, environmental and economic benefits of biodiesel fuel.
The strategy was ultimately successful, leading to the passage of the bill in April 2022, championed by Sen. Patrick Joyce, D-Essex, and Rep. Eva Dina Delgado, D-Chicago.
“The Illinois Soybean Association is extremely honored to be recognized by IACT,” said David Kubik, ISA public-policy manager. “ISA estimates that by the time the legislation is fully implemented in 2026 it will lead to a reduction of 210,000 tons of CO2 emissions annually. We could not have accomplished passing this legislation without the help and support of the B20 Club of Illinois, Sen. Joyce, Rep. Delgado, and so many other stakeholders who are looking to reduce GHG emissions in Illinois.”
IACT also recognized the city of Moline, a member of ISA’s B20 Club, as its 2022 Clean Fuels Champion, the coalition’s most prestigious award. Moline and its fleet and facilities manager Sarah Mark were awarded for the city’s growing fleet of low-emission vehicles powered by alternative fuels.
“The fleet division for the city of Moline is honored to accept this award on behalf of the city and its residents,” Mark said. “Our use of alternative fuels and technologies, such as year-round B20, CNG, and electric vehicles, demonstrates our longstanding commitment to reducing our carbon footprint while protecting our local air quality and environment for current and future generations. We look forward to continuing, and expanding, our efforts in support of a clean and thriving community.”
Bailey Arnold, director of clean-air initiatives with the American Lung Association and program lead of the B20 Club of Illinois, added, “The city of Moline’s use of alternative fuels and technologies, like B20 year-round, is a testament to what is possible with the right drive and leadership. The city’s commitment to providing healthy air and a cleaner environment is something that all municipalities should strive toward.”
The winners were recognized at the Illinois Alliance for Clean Transportation, formerly known as Chicago Area Clean Cities, annual meeting and holiday reception held Dec. 6.