Thursday, July 07, 2011

Calif., Minn. and S.D. senators offer bipartisan deal to end ethanol subsidies; House support in doubt

Key senators in both parties agreed today on legislation that would "end ethanol subsidies immediately," The Washington Post reports. The blenders' tax credit for ethanol and the tariff on imported biofuels would go away at the end of the month, but the bill "would extend a tax credit for green biofuels production for three years, expanding it to include fuels made from algae," Rosalind Helderman writes. ( photo)

Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein of California and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Republican Sen. John Thune of South Dakota said the measure should be part of any bill to raise the national debt ceiling and cut spending. "If Congress fails to enact this proposal before it adjourns for August recess, the substantial levels of deficit reduction and investment achieved by this compromise will no longer be possible, and we cannot commit our support after that point," they said.

"Because the credit was slated to expire by the end of this year anyway, each day Congress delays in ending the credit reduces how much money will be saved," Dan Looker notes on "The remaining tax credits that will be allowed for ethanol are modest in comparison." (Read more)
"The bipartisan proposal may signal new flexibility about including ethanol subsidies in the debt talks," the Post reports. But while the Senate voted to repeal the subsidies last month, that was a vote on an amendment to a bill that wasn't going anywhere, and Environment & Energy News reports the House is unlikely to support repealing both subsidies. (Read more, subscription required)

In other ethanol news, POET has been awarded a $105 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy for development of its cellulosic fuel plant in Emmetsburg, Iowa, Jenny Mandel of Greenwire reports. "There is more than 1 billion tons of biomass available each year that could be used to make enough cellulosic ethanol to completely displace oil imports," CEO Jeff Broin told Mandel. "Today's announcement brings us closer to making that promise into a reality." (Read more, subscription required)

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