Unusual bedfellows join to fight corn subsidies

Source: Jason Plautz • E & E  • Posted: Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A vast coalition of environmental, taxpayer, agricultural and business groups are urging congressional leaders to block all efforts to continue federal support for corn ethanol in any budget deals.

In a letter sent yesterday to the top Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate, the groups state their opposition to an extension of the existing Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit, which is set to expire at the end of the year. The groups also oppose an expansion of the Alternative Fuels Tax Credit to allow 85 percent ethanol blends to qualify as well as funding for additional “blender pumps” and ethanol infrastructure.

“Any combination of these policies would only serve to expand the market for fuels derived from corn, especially corn ethanol, and exacerbate the many challenges associated with those fuels,” the letter states.

The letter was signed by a self-described “diverse group of business associations, hunger and development organizations, agricultural groups, environmental groups, budget hawks, grassroots groups and free marketers.” Those signing the letter include Friends of the Earth, Taxpayers for Common Sense, Americans for Prosperity, Greenpeace, Natural Resources Defense Council and the National Restaurant Association.

A deal this summer would have killed the VEETC credit and an export credit with the proceeds going to advanced and cellulosic biofuels. But negotiations fell apart, and corn ethanol opponents have instead tried to ensure that the credit will expire as scheduled at the end of the year. Industry sources say they are also prepared to let VEETC expire.

The groups also state their opposition to altering the renewable fuels standard by expanding the definition of advanced biofuels to include corn-based fuels.

Click here to read the letter.