A bill has been introduced in the Senate to extend tax incentives for ethanol set to expire at the end of this year.
Senators Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Kent Conrad (D-ND) introduced the bipartisan GREEN Jobs Act of 2010 that extends through 2015 the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC), the offsetting tariff on foreign ethanol, the Small Producers Tax Credit, and the Cellulosic Ethanol Producer Tax Credit.
Grassley said the lapse of the separate tax credit for biodiesel, which expired at the end of 2009, has cost 29,000 clean-energy jobs and put 23,000 more at risk. “We can’t risk a repeat performance with ethanol, where 112,000 jobs are at stake.” Of the ethanol tariff, Grassley said, “the United States already provides generous duty-free access to imported ethanol under the Caribbean Basin Initiative, but the CBI cap has never once been fulfilled. In fact, last year, only 25 percent of it was even used by Brazil and other countries.”
“Our country is in serious danger because of skyrocketing energy costs,” said Sen. Conrad. “This growing crisis demands urgent action. We must be committed to coming together in a bipartisan way to lessen our dependence on foreign oil, while aggressively pursuing alternative sources of energy such as biofuels. Extending these tax credits is a step in the right direction.”
The ethanol industry praised the Senate action. “Extending these measures will ensure job growth and economic development across the entire country—all while reducing our dependence on foreign oil and cleaning our skies,” Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy, said. “If we let the tariff and VEETC expire, it would drain both hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars right out of our economy.”
“Tax incentives aiding the expansion of America’s ethanol industry are sound public policies by any economic, environmental or energy measure,” said Renewable Fuels Association President Bob Dinneen. “Domestic ethanol use is lowering the price of gasoline, reducing imports of foreign oil, and helping stabilize and reinvigorate rural economies all across the country.”
“The American people directly benefit from ethanol through the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs and by saving money on a clean, renewable product at the pump,” said American Coalition for Ethanol Executive Vice President Brian Jennings. “If it is a priority to save these high-skill, high-wage jobs in the U.S. and provide consumers with affordable fuel, it is imperative that these ethanol tax credits are renewed this year, and we are committed to working with Congressional leaders to see that happen.”
The Senate bill mirrors bipartisan legislation that was introduced in the House in March by Reps. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., and John Shimkus, R-Ill.