Coalition of farm, ethanol groups sends letter to congress: Extend biofuels tax credit

(excerpts from letter drafted by RFA, NCGA and others)

“The ethanol industry has been an essential component of our nation’s effort to achieve energy security and improve our environment. The volumes of ethanol produced domestically have been uniquely successful in reducing our dependence on foreign, imported oil, and have helped to reduce our nation’s emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants. In addition, the ethanol industry has helped to revitalize our nation’s rural and farm economies by providing a value added market for agriculture, and supported the creation of hundreds of thousands of non-exportable, high-paying green jobs.”

On VEETC, the groups wrote: “Without VEETC, ethanol blending will become less economically attractive to refiners, resulting in a substantial decline in discretionary blending, and upward pressure on consumer gasoline prices. As a consequence of reduced demand, ethanol plants will close. One analysis concluded that as many as 118,000 jobs could be lost if Congress fails to extend this important incentive.”

On the Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Credit, which allows fuel station owners to write off 50%, or up to $50,000, of the cost of alternative fuel infrastructure upgrades, the groups wrote: “Today, there are approximately 160,000 retail fuel outlets around the nation; however, only 2,300 are fitted with equipment able to dispense E85, and just a few hundred that can offer mid-level blends. It is essential that there continue to be incentives to develop the infrastructure needed to make the ethanol blended fuels available to consumers.”

Our Take:
Why pay for someone else to make what we can make ourselves? Our approach to energy should recognize the disaster of lost jobs we’ve seen in electronics, textiles, and automobiles. We already import nearly two thirds of our transportation energy needs–all those dollars going overseas mean energy jobs we don’t have in the US. What’s next? Will we end up importing all our food? Will we import everything we need except for services–and how many of those can be done remotely? Diversification is the key to a vibrant economy. Growing the renewable farm-based fuels industry is a proven way to create jobs.

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