Ethanol opponents fail to get Senate vote

Source: By Philip Brasher, Agri-Pulse Communications • Posted: Friday, January 23, 2015

WASHINGTON, Jan. 22, 2015 – A bipartisan proposal to kill the corn ethanol mandates won’t be considered in the Senate.

“At this point it’s unlikely we will bring that to a vote,” Sen. Pat Toomey told Agri-Pulse on Thursday. The Pennsylvania Republican had proposed the anti-ethanol amendment to a pending bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. He declined further comment.

The amendment, cosponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., would have eliminated the annual targets for corn ethanol usage in the Renewable Fuel Standard established by the 2007 energy law.

Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., said the amendment would have divided senators along regional lines. She said her “bigger concern” was what EPA would do about setting the annual usage targets. The agency has repeatedly delayed setting the RFS levels for last year while it determines how to legally keep them within the amounts the market can absorb.

The Senate this week has been debating a series of amendments to the Keystone bill on issues ranging from climate change to the Endangered Species Act.

The Toomey-Feinstein amendment was similar to a bill, the Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act, that Feinstein had proposed in the last Congress with then-Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla.