Ethanol Loses One Vote and Wins Another in Senate

Cindy Zimmerman

The Senate voted to preserve federal funding for blender pumps right after it voted to end the ethanol blenders tax credit (VEETC) and associated tariff immediately.

McCain in Independence MissouriThe amendment by Senator John McCain (R-AZ) to prevent federal funding to help pay for installing alternative fuel infrastructure such as blender pumps and storage tanks at gasoline stations. The measure failed on a vote of 41 to 39.

The Obama administration voiced opposition today to ending the VEETC. “The Administration supports efforts currently underway in the Senate to reform and modernize tax incentives and other programs that support biofuels. However, today’s amendments are not reforms and are ill advised,” said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in a statement. “We need reforms and a smarter biofuels program, but simply cutting off support for the industry isn’t the right approach. Therefore, we oppose a straight repeal of the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC) and efforts to block biofuels infrastructure programs.”

The vote to end the VEETC is not likely to go anywhere, according to Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis. “Ironically, the United States Senate has spent the better part of a week on an amendment that is unconstitutional and going nowhere, even while the news pours in that OPEC has hit a high-water mark of $1 trillion in revenues,” Buis said.

The industry continues to support the Ethanol Reform and Deficit Reduction Act introduced last week by Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) that would 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.

Ethanol, Ethanol News, Government