Diverse Coalition Responds to Senate Vote on Corn Ethanol Tax Credit

October 24, 2012

The Senate today passed a tax policy package that includes a one-year extension of the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC) at its current level of $.45 per gallon.  In response, organizations representing the food industry, animal agriculture, environmental groups, and budget watchdogs released the following statements.

ActionAid USA
Americans for Limited Government
American Meat Institute
Environmental Working Group
Friends of the Earth
Milk Producers Council
National Chicken Council
National Meat Association
National Resources Defense Council
National Taxpayers Union
National Turkey Federation
Taxpayers for Common Sense
“With predictions of another food price crisis on the horizon in 2011, Congress should be re-evaluating the costs and benefits of converting food to fuel, instead of approving a $6 billion giveaway to the biofuel industry through VEETC. Adding an ethanol subsidy to the tax package will help break the budget, and it won’t give hungry people the break they need. We cannot afford to spend billions fueling hunger by throwing good taxpayer money after bad biofuels.”
            -Marie Brill, Senior Policy Analyst, ActionAid USA
“The government’s $6 billion annual subsidy of ethanol needs to be ended once and for all.  It is inhumane, inefficient, and too costly for American taxpayers in a time when the national debt has already soared past $13.8 trillion.”
-Bill Wilson, President, Americans for Limited Government (ALG)
“For 30 years, the American taxpayer has been subsidizing corn-based ethanol and unfortunately the Senate has failed to break that dependency relationship once again, even as this country teeters on the brink of a budgetary abyss.  For yet another year, $6 billion U.S. taxpayer dollars will be diverted from hardworking families to the pocketbooks of the ethanol industry for production that is mandated by the federal government despite the fact that the American people are crying out for fiscal responsibility.  Corn-based ethanol is not a long term, sustainable solution to end our dependence on foreign oil.  What it is, however, is grossly irresponsible fiscal, food and energy policy.”
            -J. Patrick Boyle, president and CEO, American Meat Institute
“Members of Congress from the very same farm states and districts that with Tea Party help just ousted lawmakers engaged in wasteful spending have now pushed to extend a costly handout to the corn ethanol industry that does little to reduce America’s oil use. The next thing poured into Boston Harbor may very well be barrels of corn ethanol.”
              -Craig Cox, Senior Vice-President, Environmental Working Group
“Shoveling out billions of dollars for oil companies to blend dirty corn ethanol into gasoline – if even for just another year – is a waste of taxpayer dollars.  Extending these subsidies is simply bad policy hidden within the political mess of a trillion dollar tax package.”
-Kate McMahon, Biofuels Campaign Coordinator, Friends of the Earth
“It’s truly a shame that the Senate has decided to approve an extension of the outdated ethanol blender’s credit.  This generous tax credit, which was created before the current Renewable Fuel ,Standard provided a guaranteed demand for ethanol, is merely padding the pockets of the ethanol industry to the tune of $6 billion per year.  Our nation’s consumers and livestock farmers that must compete with these ethanol plants for our corn supply deserve better from our elected officials.”
-Rob Vandenheuvel, General Manager, Milk Producers Council
“The vote is a triumph of politics over common sense and fiscal responsibility. The taxpayers will spend billions of dollars on a totally unnecessary subsidy to a mature industry. We continue to hope that the Congress will derail the ethanol gravy train.”
-George Watts, President, National Chicken Council
“Today's action by the Senate to extend the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit further undermines U.S. food security to pad the pockets of oil companies, which are already required to blend ethanol into their products by the Renewable Fuel Standard.  There is no benefit to extending this law, it's purely a waste of taxpayer dollars.”
-Barry Carpenter, CEO, National Meat Association
“When we’re all working to make every penny count, sending 70 cents of every federal dollar for renewables to bribe oil companies to use on an old, dirty fuel doesn’t make sense. Now the Senate has proposed to only extend the main corn ethanol tax credit for 1 year instead of the five that the industry wanted. But when you’re in a hole, you got to stop digging. Reducing the tax credit by 20% would save $1.25 billion and ending it altogether would save $6 billion. Those dollars could be far better spent delivering clean energy and real jobs.”
-Nathanael Greene, Director of Renewable Energy Policy, Natural Resources Defense Council
"When it came to letting the VEETC expire, this Senate apparently couldn't take 'yes' for an answer. Once the corn-ethanol industry itself signaled that it could learn to live without favorable tax treatment, lawmakers should have been able to do the same thing. Extending this refundable credit will not only boost deficit spending, it will also complicate a badly-needed overhaul of our tax system."
-Pete Sepp, Executive Vice President, National Taxpayers Union
“While it is disappointing that Congress appears set to renew the ethanol tax credit and import tariff for one year at their current rates, the debate clearly shows there are growing doubts on Capitol Hill about the wisdom of spending billions of taxpayers’ dollars to support an industry that is now more than 30 years old.  The fact that Congress renewed the credit for only one year means legislators intend to revisit this issue soon, and we are confident that 2011 will be the year when the credit and tariff are eliminated or significantly reduced.”
-Joel Brandenberger, President, National Turkey Federation
“Senators snatched defeat from the jaws of taxpayer victory today, setting the stage for a one-year extension of ethanol subsidies. This $6 billion lump of coal should cut from the bill and end the decades long subsidy for the mature ethanol industry.”
-Steve Ellis, Vice President, Taxpayers for Common Sense
Contact Information
ActionAid USA
Marie Brill
Americans for Limited Government
Bill Wilson, President
(703) 383-0880
American Meat Institute
Dave Ray
(202) 587-4243
Environmental Working Group
Donald Carr
(202) 939-9141
Friends of the Earth
Kate McMahon
(202) 222-0715
Milk Producers Council
Rob Vandenheuvel
(909) 628-6018
National Chicken Council
Richard Lobb
(202) 296-2622, Ext. 119
National Meat Association
Jeremy Russell
(510) 763-1533
Natural Resources Defense Council
Nathanael Greene
(212) 727-4482
National Taxpayers Union
Pete Sepp
(703) 683-5700
National Turkey Federation
Anne Willis
(202) 898-0100 x7232
Taxpayers for Common Sense
Stephen Ellis
(202) 546-8500 ext. 126