Senator Tom Coburn, R-Okla., has offered an amendment to the small business reauthorization bill that is currently under consideration in the Senate. The amendment would require the immediate repeal of the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit. The Renewable Fuels Association, Growth Energy and the National Corn Growers Association are urging the defeat of the amendment. But, if this amendment is pursued, RFA recommends that Coburn also offer an amendment that would eliminate subsidies to oil companies, which are posting tens of billions of dollars in profit quarterly.
Last December, Congress extended the tax incentive for ethanol use, providing the kind of stability that investors and markets demand. According to RFA, reneging on that stability just four months after voting to provide it is the kind of job-killing, innovation-stalling policy that will keep America addicted to foreign oil.
RFA says we should be investing in all renewable fuel technologies to give America more control over its energy future. The RFA is committed to working with those in the renewable fuels industry equally committed to establishing sound policy that address both economic and market access concerns, while providing for the commercialization of new ethanol technologies.
NCGA President Bart Schott expressed disappointment that Senator Coburn is singling out the ethanol industry while credits to the oil and gas industries remain untouched. He notes the ethanol industry in the U.S. provides and supports 400,000 jobs, added more than $50 billion to the national Gross Domestic Product in the past year and displaced the need for more than 360 million barrels of imported oil, valued at $16 billion.
"If this amendment passes, it could result in the ethanol industry reducing its production volume by 38%," Schott said. "That is approximately four billion of the 10.75 billion gallons produced in 2009. This loss in ethanol production would result in the shedding of approximately 112,000 jobs in all sectors of the economy. Can we afford that? We strongly urge the Senate to vote against Senator Coburn's amendment."