Biofuels Resource Page

Biofuels Resource Page

Energy & Natural Resources,  | Analysis
Jun 23, 2015  | 7 min read | Print Article


Understanding Federal Subsidies for the Biofuels & Biomass Industries

(Released Sep. 2015)

  • This report examines the subsidies the ethanol industry has received over the last three decades on all steps of the supply chain, and how biofuel and biomass subsidies have allowed the federal government to pick winners and losers, distort energy and agriculture markets, and contribute to expansion and overproduction of certain types of bioenergy.

Fact Sheets:

2014 Farm Bill Crop Insurance Subsidies for Biofuels Crops (Updated June 2015)

  • Increasingly, bioenergy crops are becoming eligible for federal crop insurance subsidies; as a result, the business risks of producing biofuels and biofuels crops are shifted disproportionately onto taxpayers’ backs.

Federal Subsidies for Corn Ethanol and Other Corn-Based Biofuels (Updated June 2015)Credit: John Troxler via Flickr

  • It’s time the mature corn ethanol industry survived on its own two feet without taxpayer support.

Rural Energy for America Program Fact Sheet (Updated June 2015)

  • Even though the Rural Energy for America Program was designed to promote renewable energy sources such as solar and wind, funding data suggests that taxpayer dollars have also been wasted on the mature corn ethanol industry, without Congressional approval.

Federal Taxpayer Subsidies for Biomass (Updated June 2015)

  • Even with a maze of taxpayer supports propping up the biomass industry, the next generation of biofuels and bioenergy has failed to meet its lofty expectations.

Defining Biofuels Eligible for Federal Taxpayer Subsidies and Mandates (Updated June 2015)

  • Determining which types of fuels qualify as advanced biofuels will not only send a powerful signal to markets, but will also influence the taxpayer cost of supporting them and potential unintended consequences that may result from their production processes.

Political Footprint of the Corn Ethanol Lobby (Updated April 2015)

  • The federal government has in one form or another provided lucrative subsidies to the corn ethanol industry for more than 30 years, wasting tens of billions of taxpayer dollars in the process.

Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) resources:

Groups Call for Congress to Act on Broken Renewable Fuel Standard (October 2015)

  • TCS and other groups were featured in a print ad in Roll Call on October 28th urging Congress to act on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

Golden Fleece: Blinders for Blender Pumps (July 2015)

  • Taxpayers for Common Sense awarded Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack the Golden Fleece Award for his relentless attempts to subsidize the ethanol industry, most recently providing $100 million in taxpayer subsidies to pay for new gas station pumps that can dispense high-blend ethanol fuels.

Statement on EPA Proposed Biofuels Standards (May 2015)

  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released long-overdue biofuels volumes for 2014-16 that by and large neglect to address the broken U.S. biofuels mandate.

Joint Letter to the Senate Urges Renewable Fuel Standard Reform (February 2015)

  • TCS joined 34 other organizations in support of a new measure to reform the failed Renewable Fuel Standard

Diverse Coalition Calls for RFS Reform in Letter to the House (February 2015)

  • TCS joined 34 other organizations in support of a bill introduced in the House to finally reform the failed Renewable Fuel Standard
Suspending Oil & Gas Royalty Payments is Not a Legitimate COVID-19 Response

Our Take – GAO Report: Renewable Fuel Standard Costs Outweigh Benefits (August 2014)

  • A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report reviewed seven Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regulatory Impact Analyses (RIAs) and found that they had not always followed Office of Management and Budget (OMB) guidance or consistently taken in account regulations’ full costs and benefits.

New CBO Report: Biofuels are a Failed Promise (June 2014)

  • The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a new report entitled “The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS): Issues for 2014 and Beyond” confirming what TCS has said for years – that the RFS and corn ethanol are doing more harm than good.

Joint Letter to House Energy and Commerce Committee on Biofuels Reform (January 2014)

  • TCS joined 33 other organizations asking the House Energy and Commerce Committee to address the failed RFS mandate.

Our Take – Senate Hearing on Issues with Federal Renewable Fuel Standard (December 2013)

  • The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) held a hearing entitled “Oversight Hearing on Domestic Renewable Fuels.”

Letter Supporting the Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act (December 2013)

  • TCS joined 32 other organizations supporting the Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act, introduced by Senators Feinstein (D-CA) and Coburn (R-OK).

Letter to Congress: Eliminate the Corn Ethanol Mandate (December 2013)

  • TCS joined 39 other organizations asking Congress to eliminate the corn ethanol mandate in the federal Renewable Fuel Standard.

Joint Letter to House: Support Meaningful Reform to Renewable Fuel Standard (October 2013)

  • TCS joined 43 other organizations urging the House to support meaningful reforms to the federal Renewable Fuel Standard.

Letter to Energy & Commerce Committee: Support Comprehensive Review of the Renewable Fuel Standard (July 2013)

  • TCS joined 12 other diverse organizations in a letter supporting a comprehensive review of the federal biofuels mandate.

Our Take – Oversight Hearing on Federal Renewable Fuel Standard (June 2013)

  • The House Oversight and Government Reform’s Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Health Care and Entitlements held a hearing entitled “Up Against the Blend Wall: Examining EPA’s Role in the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).”

Press Release: Diverse Stakeholders Applaud Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Reform (April 2013)

  • A bipartisan set of Representatives introduced a bill to take long overdue steps toward reforming the broken Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)

TCS Moderates Congressional Briefings on Reforming the Renewable Fuel Standard (February 2013)

  • Remarks of Steve Ellis, Vice President, Taxpayers for Common Sense moderating the Reform the Renewable Fuel Standard Briefing

Weekly Wastebasket: Creamed By the Corn Belt (June 2003)

  • No longer content with the massive subsidies currently in place for fuel ethanol, Midwestern politicians and presidential candidates who must pass the ethanol litmus test to perform well in the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucus want to mandate a doubling of ethanol production for the coming decade.

Ethanol Plant Photo credit: John Troxler via flickr