Palin opposes ethanol subsidies

(an article by Jordan Fabian, published on “The Hill” blog)

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) said recently that she opposes ethanol subsidies, a position that could make waves in Iowa should she decide to run for president. 

Palin said that all energy subsidies, including ethanol, should be eliminated. That’s different from her position in 2008, when she talked up alternative energy subsidies as the GOP’s vice presidential nominee.

“I think that all of our energy subsidies need to be re-looked at today and eliminated,” she told reporters in Pennsylvania during a stop on her nationwide bus tour, according to CNN. 

Palin has provided few hints as to whether she will announce a run for president during her bus tour.

If she does run, her position could put her at odds with voters in Iowa, the first-in-the-nation caucus state and a state that has a large ethanol industry. 

It would also drive a wedge between her and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R), the presumptive frontrunner who said he supports subsidies. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R), another contender, was the first major candidate to say he opposes ethanol subsidies. 

The politics of ethanol in the GOP field, however, could be different in 2012. Conservative Tea Party activists and other fiscal conservatives have come out against subsidies, saying they contribute too much to the deficit. Palin, a Tea Party favorite, echoed those tones.

“And we need to make sure that we’re investing and allowing our businesses to invest in reliable energy products right now that aren’t going to necessitate subsidies, because — bottom line — we can’t afford it,” she said.

Our Take:
So the score is Tim Pawlenty and Sarah Palin–against ethanol subsidies; and Mitt Romney in favor of ethanol subsidies.

We’ve heard this song and dance before.

What we’d really like to see, if these leaders are in earnest about doing away with a subsidy for renewable energy, because “we can’t afford it,” then let’s hear them put their money where their mouth is and promote the end to oil subsidies as well.

A level playing field will help Americans see more clearly the economic benefit of ethanol, added to the others–domestically produced, renewable, cleaner.

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