The Senate voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to eliminate billions of dollars in support for the U.S. ethanol industry. In a 73-27, the Senate vote approved an amendment to end the 45-cent-a-gallon subsidy the government gives refiners and the 54-cent-per-gallon tariff on imported ethanol
In a news release, the National Corn Growers Association expressed disappointment that the Senate allowed petty politics to trump prudent policy in the fight for the future of the ethanol industry. The passage of Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s amendment to immediately repeal the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit represents a tax increase on fuel that will kill jobs in rural America and hit all consumers in the pocketbook, NCGA said.
“Today the Senate voted against rural America and domestic, renewable energy, and in favor of more foreign oil,” NCGA President Bart Schott, a grower from Kulm, N.D., said. “Sen. Feinstein has unfairly hit at the heart of an important agricultural industry while remaining unified with subsidy-laden Big Oil.”
The ethanol industry supports more than 400,000 U.S. jobs, contributing more than $56 billion each year to the nation’s economy and $11 billion in federal, state and local tax revenue, Schott said.
The Renewable Fuels Association issued the following statement in response:
“This House bill is likely dead on arrival in the Senate, and the provision included by Rep. Flake was defeated in the vote on the amendment offered by Sen. McCain. It remains our hope that lawmakers on both sides of the Capitol will now take up a serious conversation about American energy policy. Any discussion must include domestically produced renewable fuels like ethanol.”