USA Congress ends Ethanol Subsidies
IndyCar and NASCAR back the Ethanol industry that shifts food crops to the production of oil, while millions starve around the world, the United States has finally ended a 30-year tax subsidy for corn-based ethanol that cost taxpayers $6 billion annually, and ended a tariff on imported Brazilian ethanol.
Congress adjourned for the year on Friday, failing to extend the tax break that's drawn a wide variety of critics on Capitol Hill, including Sens. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. Critics also have included environmentalists, frozen food producers, ranchers and others.
The policies have helped shift millions of tons of corn from feedlots, dinner tables and other products into gas tanks.
Environmental group Friends of the Earth praised the move.
"The end of this giant subsidy for dirty corn ethanol is a win for taxpayers, the environment and people struggling to put food on their tables," biofuels policy campaigner Michal Rosenoer said Friday.
The subsidy has provided the oil and agribusiness industries with 45 cents per gallon of ethanol blended into gasoline. By some estimates, Congress has awarded $45 billion in subsidies to the ethanol industry since 1980.
Ethanol supporters are worried Congress might roll back a 2007 mandate that dramatically boosts the use of ethanol annually through 2022. The mandate jumps from 15 billion gallons of renewable fuels — including cellulosic ethanol in 2015 — to 36 billion gallons by 2022.
The corn lobby has lost clout this year, losing votes in Congress. The Senate voted 73-27 in June to end the ethanol tax subsidy and tariff.
But Michigan Democrats Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow were among the 27 senators who voted against ending the subsidy.