Countless stories and editorials have noted that the tax incentive for the use of ethanol has been allowed to expire. What the majority of these stories fail to note is that ethanol remains the lowest cost transportation fuel on the market today – and thus, is saving consumers’ money.
Earlier this week, Senators Thune, Klobuchar and Feinstein reached a compromise on ethanol tax legislation to end VEETC and use the funds for debt reduction, infrastructure investment, and cellulosic ethanol investment. In this blog post, the RFA explains exactly what this new legislation will consist of and where the ethanol industry will go from here. While this is not the perfect compromise, this bipartisan effort to find common ground is the kind of sensible policy making American voters desperately want from their elected leaders. We greatly appreciate the leadership of Senators Klobuchar and Thune in doggedly pursuing a solution to this impasse.
For ethanol interests, the United States Senate was a cauldron of confusion this week. As is often the case in Washington, things are not as they appear. This week's ethanol debate had little to do with ethanol and even less to do with true energy policy. It was old fashioned political theater.
In politics, it is always wise to follow the money – both good and bad. In the case of Sen. Tom Coburn’s (R-OK) efforts to kill American ethanol production, the money tells the story.
The spin machines at the public relations firms employed by the nation's factory farms, junk food processors, and animal slaughter facilities are in full tilt. Predictably as the corn price rises as it did a few summers ago, these groups are feverishly trying to pin higher price on U.S. ethanol producers. A new anlysis concludes that such efforts are not supported by the facts.
When it comes to criticizing “wasteful” tax policy, neither Senator Tom Coburn nor the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal have much credibility. While focusing with near myopic precision on American farmers and ethanol producers, both Sen. Coburn and the Journal are exposing their enormous blind spots when it comes to oil subsidies and corporate tax policy that allows the world’s largest companies to pay no taxes at all.
As turmoil and violence rattle the Middle East and Northern Africa, the fragile American and worldwide economic recovery is being put into jeopardy as oil prices continue their climb over $100. Meanwhile, the U.S. Congress is voting on provisions that would limit use of the only widely available alternative to imported oil…Ethanol.
Renewable Fuels Association President Bob Dinneen today is addressing the gathering of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association in Des Moines, Iowa. Dinneen is joining Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Senator Rick Santorum, and others to speak on importance of ethanol and biofuels to state and the nation.
According to reports, during a meeting with officials in Brazil, former presidential candidate, Senator John McCain (R-AZ), and his colleague Senator John Barrasso (R-WY)made bold claims about the legality of U.S. ethanol policy under World Trade Organization (WTO) obligations. Such claims are simply unjustified.
The clock is ticking down to the end of the 1111th Congress, yet big policy issues remain. Chiefly for the American ethanol industry, extending the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC) is a top priority. Stage craft around votes on expiring Bush-era tax cuts took place over the weekend to the expected outcome. Now, with that bit of political messaging behind them, both the House and the Senate can get down to business and address those issues that must get done.
The Washington Post is reporting on a letter sent to Senate leadership from a group of senators urging an end to the ethanol tax incentive known as VEETC. Unfortunately, the letter ignores the economic and job creation that would be lost if America fails to continue its investment in ethanol and renewable fuels.
Anti-ethanol special interests will leave no stone unturned in their efforts to denigrate American farmers and ethanol producers in a desperate attempt to return to the good ol’ days when corn was $2/bushel and oil was the only game in town. The most recent salvo is the exploitation of an Iowa State University professor that has previously taken money from Brazilian sugar plantations to question American ethanol production. It reads as though it might have been written in the boardroom of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, not in a classroom in Ames, Iowa. (As an Iowa State Alum, I can attest to the generally high quality of the academic experience). As was the case then, his most current arguments still don’t seem based on likely real world scenarios.
Tens of thousands of jobs could be a stake if Congress fails to extend key ethanol tax incentives in the lame duck session warned a group of leading ethanol and agriculture advocates in a letter to House and Senate leadership. Writing today to Congressional leaders ahead of their scheduled White House visit Thursday, the Renewable Fuels Association, along with the American Coalition for Ethanol, American Farm Bureau Federation, Growth Energy, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Association of Corn Growers, National Farmers Union and the National Sorghum Producers encouraged them to extend and/or address three key ethanol-related tax policies. These policies include: extension of the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC), extension of the Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Credit, and broaden the definition of the cellulosic ethanol producer tax credit to include additional feedstocks like algae. Click the link above to read the full letter.
As the Republicans made tremendous gains last night, it is anticipated that this town will become more Republican in January. However, with this change, there will be no meaningful impact on the U.S. ethanol industry. Ethanol is not now, nor has it ever been a partisan issue. As the Republicans made tremendous gains last night, it is anticipated that this town will become more Republican in January. However, with this change, there will be no meaningful impact on the U.S. ethanol industry. Ethanol is not now, nor has it ever been a partisan issue.
Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change Policy Heather Zichal reiterated the commitment of the Obama Administration to the entire ethanol industry regardless of technology or feedstock at RFA's Annual Membership Meeting this week. Specifically, Zichal highlighted the Administration's support of existing ethanol policy, including the tax incentive in its current form, as well as its commitment to ethanol technologies of every kind.
Those who live in glass house ought not throw stones. It is quite brazenly disingenuous for UNICA to lecture Americans on our national ethanol policy. The Brazilian government has had a far heavier hand in growing the ethanol industry in that country than this post would lead you to believe.
The growth and commercialization of next generation biofuels is essential to the long term success of America’s ethanol industry. This success does not need to come at the expense of current technologies. The RFA does not believe that U.S. biofuel policy should be crafted in a manner that jeopardizes the tremendous advances that have come from the investment our nation has made in renewable fuels or causes cannibalization in the industry. It is true that we need to support and promote the growth of next generation biofuels in order to become energy independent and to combat global warming. However, this will not be achieved by pitting different sectors of the industry against one another or abandoning support for one sector of the industry for another when the entire industry needs support as long as we continue to provide permanent tax breaks to oil producers.
East Coast media has long had disdain for agriculture, and by extension, ethanol. Much of this dislike stems from a fundamental lack of understanding about the industries and issues important to rural America. While the Wall Street Journal has long been the standard bearer for such vitriol, when it comes to ethanol, the New York Times doesn't fall too far behind. The Times' latest anti-ethanol effort is disguised as a choice between good and bad energy subsidies. The Times argues that subsidies for wind and solar are critical to those industries' survival and our nation's goal of reduced oil consumption (we don't use oil to produce electricity, by the way). The Times then says investments in ethanol, which does replace oil directly in American gas tanks, is unworthy. To be clear, we should be increasing investments in all renewable energies, not picking and choosing winners. Supporting its position, the Times relies on many of the canards offered by ethanol critics about environmental concerns and land usage. My friends over at the Corn Commentary take exception with the Gray Lady's portrayal and perception of ethanol, and offer a rebuttal. Worth a read.