More Senate Ethanol Votes Today

Cindy Zimmerman

An effort to end the ethanol blenders tax credit continues today in the Senate.

Just two days after an amendment by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) was defeated, the Senate is expected to vote on the same amendment, the effort this time spearheaded by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). A second amendment by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) to prohibit federal investment in ethanol blender pumps is also scheduled for a vote. Both amendments would need 60 votes to pass.

Ethanol supporters remain fairly confident one or both of the amendments will fail, and that underlying bill is unlikely to ever become law in any case. The Renewable Fuels Association says the vote will have “all the meaning of a preseason football game.” According to Growth Energy, if the amendments were to pass and be implemented, it would threaten jobs, drive up gas prices, delay development of advanced biofuels, and make the country more reliant on foreign oil. In addition, they believe the Coburn/Feinstein amendment is unconstitutional “because all revenue measures must originate in the House of Representatives.”

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 bill that would generate $2.5 billion by ending the blenders’ credit or VEETC on July 1, 2011, and allocate $1 billion to deficit reduction and invest $1.5 billion in a blender pump tax credit, cellulosic biofuel tax incentives, a variable VEETC safety-net, and extension of the Small Ethanol Producer Tax Credit.

“The ethanol industry has been proactive in our efforts to reform, unlike the oil and gas industry,” said National Corn Growers Association president Bart Schott. “NCGA supports alternative reform options that will provide a safety net to the industry while reducing the overall cost to the federal government.”

“The ethanol industry has been responsible. We’ve stepped up,” said RFA president Bob Dinneen. “I would challenge any other energy industry to do the same because the nation’s fiscal situation is such that we all need to be at the table.”

The Senate votes are expected to happen around 2:00 p.m. Eastern time.

Ethanol, Ethanol News, Growth Energy, RFA