Ethanol Future Could be Headed to Senate Showdown

Cindy Zimmerman

After the defeat Tuesday in the Senate of an amendment by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) to immediately eliminate the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC), the ethanol industry is supporting another approach and the two concepts could be heading for a showdown in the Senate before the end of the month.

“That indeed has been teed up with a commitment by the majority leader for a vote on Coburn again in a couple of weeks and a vote on an alternative,” says Renewable Fuels Association CEO and President Bob Dinneen.

The alternative is the Ethanol Reform and Deficit Reduction Act introduced this week by Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) that would end the tax incentive this year while still helping the industry move forward. The legislation would provide tax incentives for infrastructure such as blender pumps, and for cellulosic biofuels development, as well as a variable safety-net determined by the price of oil. “It’s very fiscally responsible and makes sense as an insurance that the investment that the taxpayer has already made in this industry will be protected,” Dinneen said.

The ethanol industry and agriculture groups are supportive of the alternate approach, which would save about $1 billion toward deficit reduction and Dinneen hopes it will go head-to-head against the Coburn amendment. “I welcome that side-by-side comparison,” he says. “I think there would be a great deal of support for our vision.”

Ethanol Report PodcastIn this edition of “The Ethanol Report,” Dinneen talks about why ending the ethanol tax credit without a plan to move forward would be disastrous and how the ethanol industry is taking the initiative to work with Congress and develop a plan that cuts spending while continuing to move the country toward energy independence.

Listen to or download the interview with Dinneen here: Ethanol Report on Senate Legislation

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