Corn Growers praise ethanol reform, deficit reduction bill

The South Dakota Corn Growers Association (SDCGA) announced its solid support today for a bill introduced by Sens. John Thune (R-SD) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) that would end the existing ethanol tax credit, commit $1.5 billion toward ethanol infrastructure including blender pumps, and dedicate $1 billion to deficit reduction.
The Ethanol Reform and Deficit Reduction Act would generate $2.5 billion by ending the blenders’ credit July 1. That money would be dedicated to reducing the federal deficit, establishing a safeguard tied to oil prices, and establishing cellulosic ethanol incentives for a five-year period. The bill is co-sponsored by a bipartisan group of 13 senators, including Tim Johnson (D-SD).
Keith Alverson of Chester, an SDCGA officer and chairman of the National Corn Growers Association Ethanol Committee, said the bill shows that corn producers and the ethanol industry are committed to doing their fair share to reduce the deficit while maintaining the nation’s commitment to home-grown, renewable fuel.
The bill would create a variable safeguard to protect against drops in the oil market by designing a variable blender’s credit that would be triggered only if oil falls below $90 per barrel.
”I think it demonstrates a definite commitment of the industry to reform and move to something more market-based,” Alverson said. “This plan provides funding for infrastructure that the industry needs to get ethanol into the market place and give consumers a choice. It would help the stability of long-term production of renewable fuels in the United States.”
Alverson said infrastructure is a key part of maintaining a successful ethanol industry and there’s a need to expand blender pumps to more-populated areas of the country. The blender pump incentives would help that cause.
Lisa Richardson, the SDCGA’s executive director, said the blender pump incentive would give more people a choice of using a homegrown fuel rather than one from foreign countries.
“We have to have infrastructure in place for that to happen,” Richardson said.
She said corn growers are deeply concerned about the national deficit and are willing to help.
“This bill would reduce the deficit while maintaining a safety net that’s needed to protect the domestic, renewable-energy industry,” she said.
Other co-sponsors include Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Mike Johanns (R-NE), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Richard Lugar (R-IN), John Hoeven (R-ND) Tim Johnson (D-SD), Jerry Moran(R-KS), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Al Franken (D-MN), Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Mark Kirk (R-IL).

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