Taxpayers for Common Sense joins several groups in marking the expiration of the largest subsidy to the ethanol industry, something TCS has advocated for years. Costing the American taxpayer $6 billion in just 2011, the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC) let blenders of ethanol and gasoline, often large oil companies, write off $0.45 in taxes for every gallon of ethanol blended. This version of the subsidy has been around since 2004 and has cost taxpayers tens of billions, but a subsidy for the production of conventional ethanol has been around for decades, making this a huge win for the taxpayer. However, the fight is far from over. Already, the ethanol industry is looking for new handouts from the government to help build new ethanol plants and infrastructure for ethanol transportation and use. TCS will work hard in the coming weeks and months to prevent this mature industry from getting new subsidies on the backs of taxpayers.
For Immediate Release
Diverse groups mark expiration of ethanol subsidy
WASHINGTON, DC – December 23 – The following diverse groups note the end of taxpayer support for ethanol through the expiration of the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC) on December 31, 2011. Individual remarks are below.
Stephen Ellis, Vice President of Taxpayers for Common Sense, says:
“It took all year, but that’s one 2011 New Year’s resolution fulfilled – ending the ethanol tax credit. Taxpayers can breathe a sigh of relief that they aren’t stuck with squandering billions of dollars on ethanol subsidies in 2012. But eternal vigilance is key, there’s no guarantee that ethanol boosters won’t try to slip a renewal into a tax package expected early in 2012. And now efforts turn to preventing the new and more inventive subsidies that the ethanol groups are peddling.”
Marie Brill, Senior Policy Analyst at ActionAid, says:
“At a time of rising poverty and hunger at home and abroad, it is smart policy to cut a $6 billion giveaway to big oil and gas conglomerates to blend food into fuel.Looking forward to 2012, ActionAid will remain vigilant in our efforts to ensure that this subsidy is not revived as wepush for an end to any federal biofuels policies that threaten the world’s poor.”
Sheila Karpf, Policy Analyst at the Environmental Working Group, says:
“Corn ethanol production harms the environment by degrading soil, destroying wildlife habitat and polluting water. Hopefully the demise of the VEETC subsidy is a signal that the three decades of misguided federal support for corn ethanol is beginning to wane.”
Michal Rosenoer, Biofuels Policy Campaigner at Friends of the Earth, says:
“This is a win for taxpayers, the environment and people all over the world who are struggling to put food on the table. Corn ethanol is no longer a sacred cow.”
Geoff Moody, Director of Energy and Environmental Policy at Grocery Manufacturers Association says:
“GMA applauds Congress for allowing the ethanol tax credit and tariff to expire. After more than 30 years and billions of dollars in taxpayer support, the corn ethanol industry is able to stand on its own without government support, and allowing these subsidies to sunset is an important first step toward a more rational fuels policy. We look forward to working with Congress and the administration next year to reform other policies that divert food and feed into fuel.”
Harry C. Alford, President and CEO at National Black Chamber of Commerce®, says:
“The expiration of VEETC is none too soon. It drove the price of gasoline, food and supplies in an upward direction all the while we were going into a recession.”
Mike Brown, President of National Chicken Council, says:
“The broiler chicken industry has been under intense economic pressure from the rising cost of feed grains, much of which is caused by the federal government’s ethanol policies, which is why NCC welcomes the expiration of two of those misguided policies – VEETC and the import tariff on foreign ethanol.Their sunset is a culmination of growing concern among the American public and on Capitol Hill, marked in June by overwhelming bipartisan and bicameral votes to end unnecessary federal support of corn-based ethanol.
These developments put the mature corn-based ethanol industry two steps closer to operating on a level playing field with other agriculture commodities whose largest input cost is corn.
This is a victory for American taxpayers and the U.S. Treasury who are saving $6 billion in lost revenue and a victory for U.S. broiler chicken companies who continue to struggle because of the artificially high price of corn.”
Rob Green, Executive Director of the National Council of Chain Restaurants, says:
“NCCR applauds the expiration of one portion of the federal subsidies and supports for corn ethanol, as previously scheduled by law, barring any last-minute efforts by the ethanol industry’s advocates to reverse this outcome. Expiration of the VEETC and import tariff represents a victory of good public policy over parochial politics, and will save taxpayers $6 billion a year moving forward. However, moving forward, our coalition will remain vigilant against attempts to create new ethanol subsidies, whether they take the form of federal dollars for ethanol blender pumps at filling stations, reclassification of corn ethanol as an “advanced biofuel,” or schemes to revive previous discredited and outmoded subsidies.”
Scott DeFife, Executive Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs, at National Restaurant Association, says:
“Subsidies for corn-based ethanol for fuel distort the market and divert resources away from the food supply, which contributes to increased food prices. Coupled with the tariff on imports, the result has been a real impact on the cost of food, and restaurants’ bottom-line.
On behalf of our nation’s nearly one million restaurant and foodservice outlets and our nearly 13 million employees, the National Restaurant Association extends our appreciation to the members of Congress who worked to end the billions of dollars in taxpayer-funded subsides for the now well-established corn-based ethanol market. We urge continued determination in future debates on this issue.”
Joel Brandenberger, President of the National Turkey Federation, says:
“The National Turkey Federation (NTF) commends Congress for allowing the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC) and import tariff on foreign ethanol to expire. This advance is significant in reforming the current U.S. biofuels policies, which has caused serious harm to the turkey industry. The blender’s credit and import tariff on foreign ethanol distorted the corn market, creating needless volatility in the cost of animal feed. NTF and its members recognize that the battle to reform federal renewable fuels policy into something more sensible is far from over. The federation will continue to remain diligent to ensure the VEETC does not reappear and will continue to push for real reform of the Renewable Fuels Standard.”
Gawain Kripke, Director of Policy & Research at Oxfam America, says:
“Kudos to Congress for taking a pass on extending another year of pork barrel spending on blending credits to the corn ethanol industry that encourages the use of food crops for fuel and drives up food prices at a time when the world’s poorest people can least afford it. We look forward to working with Congress toward creating a more effective and rational US biofuels policy that supports both alternative energy sources and global food security. “