BlueGreen World

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Sitting in the sun surrounded by snow and this wonderful silence on a bright, warm winter's day, I try being patient. The teenage Jeffry pine, without another tree around it in any direction for a couple dozen feet, stands awkwardly, with its low branches drawn in all directions by the snow. It reaches for the sun while the snow endlessly freezes and thaws and bends the limbs closer to snapping.

The Jeffry keeps looking up. The snow has engulfed a good third of it. Some of those lower branches will break off, but most will survive and again point toward the sun in a few months. Even with their crowns broken, or bent to the ground, the tree will send up new branch to replace the crown (as one blue spruce here has done) or slowly rise back up. One wonders to what extent the tree knows that, over time, over decades, it will be able to escape such icy tortures. It will find itself as tall as the 100-plus year old Jeffrys 100 feet away whose wide trunks alone have snow around them. No branches are pulled down by the cold snow. The snow is in fact transformed into an insulating layer around the hearty base, and the four big pines in this group tower over the surrounding trees, looking toward mountaintops and valleys. They've suffered years of abuse. They sit on the edge of the road and are battered by machines' disproportionate loading of snow as storms break open and dump on the little Tyrolean village here. They must have been hit hard just 25 years ago when this place was developed, and then slowly grown high enough to keep their crowns above the fray; and now, they remain entirely above the 400" snow-load common during the six-month winters here.

Patience. Endurance. There is nothing in nature that doesn't suffer extremes. That's nature, by definition. These trees weathered great trials in their younger years, but are enjoying their older age. They have scars from accidents and various brushes with humans. Their skin has grown thick, creviced, wrinkled, stronger. They still have snow to contend with above, but they are not dragged down by the snow that grabs them from below. They are older, probably a little wiser, and persist in the face of a cold, grabbing iciness. I wonder how much they track the sun, like the "Walking Palms" in the tropical parts of the world that move over time out from under the shade of taller trees and into the open spaces that allow more light to shine on them. Both the tropical palm and the alpen pine look up to the sun. They keep their focus on the sun, on going up, and for the longer term. Blessed with other necessities (good soil, protective elders, water), some make it to the point where they will grow old and enjoy wide views and summer breezes. Their trials will fall only from heaven, but even those snows are blessings in disguise, providing the water they will need through summer. No base attacks from the common snow on the ground - just mild adversity that pales in comparison to when they were young.


Monday, March 08, 2010

Senate Majority Leader Opts for Pared-Down Jobs Package;
Removes Tax Extenders/Biodiesel Tax Incentive

NBB Members Are Urged to Immediately Contact Senators and
Call for Inclusion of Biodiesel Tax in First Legislative Vehicle.

Consistent with multiple press reports over the past several weeks, Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA), the Finance Committee’s Ranking Member, had been working on a bipartisan Jobs package. On Thursday, February 11, 2010, Senators Baucus and Grassley unveiled the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act. Among its provisions, this legislation provided for a one year extension of the biodiesel tax incentive. Below you will find links to the bipartisan press release issued by the Senate Finance Committee and a link to the legislative text of the HIRE Act.

Press Release

Text of HIRE Act

Subsequent to the Senate Finance Committee’s unveiling of their package, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), affirmatively decided to jettison major components of the HIRE Act and will attempt to move forward the week on February 22, 2010 with a scaled back Jobs package that currently does not include an extension of the biodiesel tax incentive.

Senator Reid was quoted as saying after the Thursday Democratic Caucus meeting "No one can dispute we have a jobs bill," he added. "We're not going to confuse this with tax extenders." Senator Reid has signaled an intention to address other items, such as tax extenders, in subsequent legislation, but provided no concrete plan on how or when this would happen.
NBB distributed a strong response urging the Senate to include the tax incentive in the first possible vehicle.

The affirmative decision to remove tax extenders – which includes the biodiesel tax incentive – is clearly an unwelcome development. Further delay will cause even more harm for the U.S. biodiesel industry. It is imperative that that all NBB members and biodiesel stakeholders contact their Senators immediately with the following message:

Delaying consideration of the biodiesel tax incentive is unacceptable. The longer the credit lapses, the more jobs will be lost. Retroactive extension of the biodiesel tax incentive must be addressed immediately and be included in the first legislative vehicle moving in the Senate that is going to get signed into law.

Thank you for your help. NBB’s Washington, DC Office will continue to closely monitor this issue and provide updates as warranted.

Michael C. Frohlich
National Biodiesel Board