Lawmakers and special interests have been chiming in with reaction to the US-Brazil biofuels agreement announced last week.
In a press statement, Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana praised the agreement. “Working with Brazil will help turn ethanol into a global commodity and reduce our dependence on oil. It also demonstrates to our friends in the Hemisphere that we are ready partners in advancing our common interest for energy security. If implemented vigorously and funded generously, a policy of partnerships in biofuels production could rehabilitate the U.S. in the eyes of everyday Latin Americans,” Lugar said.
The Illinois Corn Growers Association issued a release calling the memorandum of understanding “a natural and positive step forward for the development of a international ethanol industry,” but officials say they “will watch these developments closely to assure any future agreements are formulated in the context of fair trade.”
However, the National Farmers Union says the agreement could have “negative impact on family farmers, ranchers and American taxpayers.” In a statement, NFU President Tom Buis expressed concerns that the partnership could allow foreign ethanol investors to receive U.S. tax subsidies and compete with U.S. producers. “Decreasing our reliance on foreign oil while increasing our reliance on foreign biofuels is the wrong move when attempting to become energy independent. Ethanol production is the only sector in agriculture that has seen a decrease of consolidation, a direct result of farmer-owned biofuels production facilities. We should not jeopardize this achievement by having U.S. taxpayers foot the bill for foreign-owned biofuel production.”