Proposal to end federal ethanol tax credit, divert US$305M to cellulosic ethanol 'sensible policy making,' but capping cellulosic ethanol development sends 'wrong signal,' RFA officials say

Rachel Carter

Rachel Carter

Jul 7, 2011 – Renewable Fuels Association

WASHINGTON , July 7, 2011 (press release) – Reacting to news that an agreement on the future of ethanol tax policy has been reached between Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), John Thune (R-SD), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Bob Dinneen, President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) offered the following reaction:

“This bipartisan effort to find common ground is the kind of sensible policy making American voters desperately want from their elected leaders. We greatly appreciate the leadership of Senators Klobuchar and Thune in doggedly pursuing a solution to this impasse. Walking away from investments made in America’s ethanol industry cold turkey would jeopardize the future of biofuel production in America, including stifling the progress of advanced and cellulosic ethanol technologies.

“A particularly important part of this agreement is the commitment to continue the evolution of the industry to new technologies and new feedstocks for cellulosic ethanol. We are pleased the agreement recognizes the importance of cellulosic ethanol by committing $305 million to this effort. However, we are concerned that capping cellulosic ethanol development sends the wrong signal and we will continue to work with the Congress and the Obama Administration to address this anomaly in as this process continues.”

“This is not the perfect compromise, but it does demonstrate the willingness of American ethanol producers and advocates to do their part to address budget concerns while not sacrificing the progress and evolution of the industry. I would challenge other industries to step up to the plate in the same manner. The status quo of American energy and tax policy simply won’t work.”

Leaders of the RFA and the ethanol industry also praised the work of these senators. Chuck Woodside, CEO of farmer-owned KAAPA Ethanol in Minden, Nebraska, and Chairman of the RFA stated: “Answering America’s most challenging questions will take this kind of bipartisan, roll up your shirt sleeves approach that is too often lacking in Washington. While it is clear this agreement does not encompass everything proposed by Senators Klobuchar and Thune in their bill (the Ethanol Tax Reform and Deficit Reduction Act), their tireless effort to find a path forward is a testament to their commitment to American ethanol production and is greatly appreciated by advocates of renewable fuels. America’s ethanol industry is ready to move beyond the Kabuki dance of Beltway politicking and get on with the business of growing and diversifying the industry through new technologies and greater market access.”

Mike Jerke, General Manager of farmer-owned Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company in Benson, Minnesota, and Chairman of the Renewable Fuels Foundation stated: “Senator Klobuchar’s commitment to continuing the growth and evolution of American ethanol production is unparalleled. Together, Senators Klobuchar and Thune are showing the kind of leadership needed to end American addiction to imported oil. Minnesota’s ethanol producers look forward to continuing our work with strong and forward-looking leaders like Senators Klobuchar and Thune to realizing the full potential of domestic ethanol production and use from all sources.”

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