An amendment that would abolish the tax credits on corn-based ethanol is scheduled for a vote today in the U.S. Senate. Some are calling it a “high noon”-style showdown on ethanol. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is strongly opposed to the amendment, which he says would significantly hurt the renewable home-grown fuel.
“The Senate vote will be an attempt to repeal the ethanol tax incentive which is a way of raising taxes on domestic energy production,” Grassley says. “The arguments for the amendment are full of inconsistencies and more importantly, full of a lot of myths.” Grassley, a Republican, says the ethanol opponents are entitled to their opinions, “but not their own facts.”
Grassley says, “It’s a fact that ethanol reduces dependence on foreign oil and increases energy independence, that ethanol is a clean-burning fuel and that ethanol is not the cause for the increase in the price of food.” The measure aims to end the 45-cent per gallon ethanol “blender’s credit” which is scheduled to expire at the end of this year, and would keep a lesser tax credit for three years.
Grassley says this effort is “an attack on domestic energy” and cannot be allowed to gain momentum, or else other green energies like solar and wind may become the next targets. “I don’t know how the vote will turn out today but I know that I’d rather depend on renewable fuel producers across the United States rather than oil sheiks in the Middle East and Hugo Chavez in Venezuela.”
Ethanol opponents say tax breaks have propped up that industry for 30 years and it’s time for the “mature” ethanol industry to be cut off. Grassley argues, petroleum was first given federal incentives in 1916 — some 95 years ago — and that industry continues to be federally subsidized. Grassley asks, “Is the domestic oil industry not mature?”