Coalition of 90 groups urges Congress to end corn ethanol subsidies

Today, a whopping coalition of 90 organizations, from Freedomworks to, the Grocery Manufacturers Association to Oxfam, and dozens of environmental, agricultural, religious, taxpayer interest and business groups all sent a letter to Congressional leadership calling on Congress to end wasteful corn ethanol subsidies and resist industry pressure to spend more taxpayer dollars supporting this dirty fuel.

In these politically partisan times, it’s rare to see this diverse an array of organizations come together with one voice. Their message is clear:

“At a time of spiraling deficits, we do not believe Congress should continue subsidizing gasoline refiners for something that they are already required to do by the Renewable Fuels Standard.

This is not the first time that business associations and advocacy groups, lawmakers and major newspaper editorial boards from the left, right and center have all come together to reject more giveaways to old, dirty corn ethanol by allowing the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit or “VEETC” to expire at year-end.

Today’s letter shows that the coalition continues to grow and its message cannot be ignored.  In these difficult times, we have to be smarter than ever about how we use our tax dollars.  A $6 billion dollar per year subsidy to gasoline refiners for blending corn ethanol they are already required to blend by law is unacceptable.

As I discussed here, it used to be conventional wisdom that the corn ethanol industry was too strong to take on. Industry lobbyists used every trick in their playbook to keep their billions a year in subsidies, including making grossly inflated jobs claims, issuing dire warnings about their (in)ability to compete without continued government subsidies, and repeatedly attacking the science on the lifecycle environmental impacts of corn ethanol

But as the coalition letter points out, the facts are crystal clear: analysis after analysis has shown the redundancy and wastefulness of the VEETC and concluded that ending it would have little impact on domestic corn ethanol production or jobs. 

Congress should heed this call to stop wasting scarce taxpayer dollars supporting a mature corn ethanol industry that pollutes our air and water at the expense of supporting the cleaner, advanced biofuels we need. It’s time to end the VEETC, once and for all.

About the Authors

Sasha Stashwick

Senior Advocate, Energy & Transportation and Food & Agriculture programs

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