Senator Charles Grassley says a deal’s been struck to extend the tax credit for corn-based ethanol fuel to 2010, and create a similar credit for biodiesel. The deal’s part of discussions over the energy bill pending before Congress. Grassley says defending ethanol from the oil interests is never easy. Grassley says this latest battle was similar to the one 10 years ago, which ethanol-backers won, too. Grassley expects the overall energy bill to win Congressional approval before the House and Senate adjourn for the year. Grassley says the primary stumbling block on the energy bill was the stalemate over renewable fuel issues, including the ethanol tax break. Grassley says the deal puts the tax incentives for ethanol on “equal footing” with every other energy tax incentive. Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, a Democrat, says he’s cautious but hopeful about the agreement, which could be a big boon for Iowa corn and soybean producers. Harkin says it “could be good news” but he wants to see all of the details on ethanol, adding, “sometimes the agreements aren’t exactly how they were portrayed.” The use of ethanol will no longer “take” money from the highway trust fund. Under present law, motorists who buy ethanol don’t pay as high a tax into the highway construction fund as those who buy regular gasoline. Governor Vilsack has argued that penalizes states like Iowa where a huge chunk of motorists buy ethanol.
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