US farm state senators offer bill to extend ethanol tax credit

Nick Snow
OGJ Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, Apr. 20 -- US senators from agricultural states introduced legislation on Apr. 20 that would extend the federal ethanol tax credit through 2015. Failure to do so would cost 112,000 jobs nationwide and reduce domestic fuel ethanol production by 40%, they maintained.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), the Finance Committee’s ranking minority and the bill’s primary sponsor, said the expiration of a separate biodiesel tax credit at the end of 2009 has cost 29,000 jobs and put 23,000 more at risk. “We can’t risk a repeat performance with ethanol, where 112,000 jobs are at stake,” he said.

Grassley added that the US already provides duty-free access to some ethanol imports under the Caribbean Basin Initiative, “but the CBI cap has never once been fulfilled,” he said, adding, “In fact, last year, only 25% of it was even used by Brazil and other countries.”

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND), a cosponsor of the bill, said, “Our country is in serious danger because of skyrocketing energy costs. We must be committed to coming together to less our dependence on foreign oil, while aggressively pursuing alternative sources of energy such as biofuels. Extending these tax credits is a step in the right direction.”

They said the bill would extend by 5 years until the end of 2015 the current 45¢/gal volumetric ethanol excise tax credit and the 10¢/gal small ethanol producers’ tax credit, both of which are scheduled to expire on Dec. 31. The measure also would extend by 3 years the $1.01/gal cellulosic biofuel producer tax credit, currently set to expire on Dec. 31, 2012, and extend by 5 years the ethanol tariff, which is scheduled to expire at yearend.

Other Senate cosponsors include Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), and John Thune (R-SD). US Reps. Earl Pomeroy (D-ND) and John Shimkus (R-Ill.) introduced a similar bill in the House on Mar. 25.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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