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Friends of the Earth: Scott Baumgartner, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-222-0751
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Bill Introduced to Extend Wasteful Ethanol Tax Credits
Broad coalition says providing subsidies for the ethanol industry bad for environment, food prices and taxpayers
WASHINGTON - March 25 - Today, Congressman Earl Pomeroy (D-ND) introduced a bill that would extend ethanol tax credits for another five years, to 2015. This tax credit is set to expire on December 31, 2010. If extended, the tax credits will provide the conventional ethanol industry with $30 billion over five years.
A group of organizations representing environmental, hunger, industry and taxpayer interests denounced the proposed extension of ethanol tax credits.
Kate McMahon, Energy Policy Campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said:
"Continuing to subsidize dirty corn ethanol is outrageous. Congress already mandates a market for ethanol use. The oil and ethanol industries need no further help from the American people. This money should be invested in more cutting-edge, clean, and renewable energy that won't cause environmental degradation and increase food prices."
J. Patrick Boyle, President and CEO, American Meat Institute, said:
"Unfortunately, this bill continues the unfair support and protection corn-based ethanol has enjoyed for more than 30 years at the expense of the American taxpayer and the livestock and poultry producers who rely on corn for feed. It's time for the corn-based ethanol industry to stop using the American taxpayers as a crutch and finally compete on its own in our free market system."
Jonathan Lewis, Attorney and Climate Specialist for the Clean Air Task Force, said:
"If we hope to get ourselves out of the global climate change hole, the first thing we need to do is stop digging. This bill does just the opposite by lavishing taxpayer dollars on corn ethanol, a fuel that's even worse for the climate than gasoline. Renewing the corn ethanol subsidy makes no sense for our economy or for the environment."
Geoff Moody, Manager of Federal Affairs at the Grocery Manufacturers Association, said:
"The Grocery Manufacturers Association fully supports truly sustainable advanced biofuels and extension of the cellulosic ethanol tax credit. Unfortunately, this bill would also extend the unnecessary corn ethanol tax credit and import tariff at the expense of more sustainable biofuels. We urge Congress to instead shift government investments to advanced biofuels that do not pit our energy security against our food security."
Scott Vinson, Vice President of the National Council of Chain Restaurants, said
"In a time of ballooning federal deficits, it is high time for the government to say no to the ethanol lobby's seemingly endless demands for more subsidies from the hard-pressed American taxpayer. Restaurants have to do business without government support in an intensely competitive market, and the ethanol industry needs to prove it can exist without taxpayers and consumers footing the bill. Congress is going to have to make some tough choices about how it spends taxpayers' money, and the ethanol sector is looking increasingly like a bad investment."
Franz Matzner, Climate Center Legislative Director at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said:
"Taxpayers should no longer throw good money after bad when it comes to subsidizing corn ethanol. The public should get something in return for its hard earned money, and that means demanding real environmental performance. It's time to invest in the future, not the past."
Gawain Kripke, Director of Policy & Research at Oxfam America, said:
"Congress should not waste taxpayer dollars by extending the current tax credits. The current package of ethanol mandates, incentives and subsidies is driving a rapid growth in ethanol production and the diversion of huge volumes of agriculture products from food markets to energy use. This year, the US will burn nearly one-third of our corn harvest in gas tanks, which drives up the price of corn. This has big implications for hunger, climate change, and land use around the world, contributing to food insecurity in developing countries."
Steve Ellis, Vice President at Taxpayers for Common Sense, said:
"For more than three decades the ethanol industry has received generous subsidies from taxpayers. With Americans staring into a budgetary abyss for the foreseeable future, blowing billions on more ethanol subsidies doesn't make sense. Expanding the ethanol tax credit is fiscally reckless. Instead, Congress should be considering its repeal."