Seizing on last week’s CBO report and a proposal by Growth Energy to phase out and redirect the blenders tax credit for ethanol (VEETC), several long-time opponents of ethanol renewed their call for an end to all tax incentives for the home-grown fuel.
In a press conference this morning, representatives from the American Meat Institute (AMI), Environmental Working Group (EWG), Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Taxpayers for Common Sense together said that the tax credit should be eliminated at the end of this year when it expires, and the corresponding tariff on imported ethanol should also be ended.
AMI president J. Patrick Boyle claims that the blenders tax credit distorts the corn market and increases the cost of feeding animals. “Thirty years of tax payer support for the corn-based ethanol industry has created a mature industry that now needs to compete fairly in the market place and allow for the next generation of renewable fuels to grow,” said Boyle.
NRDC’s Nathanael Greene called the tax credit a “bribe” for fuel blenders to comply with the Renewable Fuels Standard. “It’s sort of like paying people to obey the speed limit,” Greene said. He also called the VEETC an “environmental problem” that “drives up food prices, encourages agribusiness to pollute our water.”
The groups made it clear that they do not support Growth Energy’s proposal to redirect the tax credit and use it instead to increase blender pumps and flex fuel vehicles, but said that proposal shows the industry recognizes that the tax credit is in jeopardy. Steve Ellis with Taxpayers for Common Sense called Growth Energy’s proposal ironic. “At the same time they talk about a mandate for flex fuel vehicles and for pumps across the country, these are enormous subsidies, and yet they’re talking about a level playing and letting the free market work,” Ellis said. Continue reading