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Sasha Stashwick’s Blog

Something we can all agree on: it's time to end corn ethanol subsidies

Sasha Stashwick

Posted November 29, 2010 in Solving Global Warming, U.S. Law and Policy

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When FreedomWorks and MoveOn agree on something, it’s time for our lawmakers to take notice. Today, an impressively broad coalition, including both these groups and a host of taxpayer advocates, budget hawks and food producers, as well as hunger and development, religious, agricultural and environmental organizations, sent a jointly signed letter to Senators Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell and Representatives Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner calling for an end to the corn ethanol tax credit—known as the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax credit or “VEETC".   

Calling on Congress to seize the opportunity to end the wasteful subsidy—which will cost U.S. taxpayers $31 billion over a five-year extension and $ 6 billion next year alone — the group could not have been clearer in its statement: 

"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."

As the letter points out, we’ve seen study after study after study after  study concluding that corn ethanol subsidies are wasteful and redundant and that ending them will have little impact on domestic ethanol production, prices or jobs.  And when NRDC, the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the Tea Party, politicians from Al Gore to John McCain to Jim Demint, and editorial pages from the New York Times to the Wall Street Journal all agree on something, it’s a clear sign to Congress and the President that it’s time to put principle and protecting the environment ahead party and politics.

Ending corn ethanol subsidies is not only smart fiscal policy, but also smart energy, environmental, and security policy.  The coalition grows by the day and the message is clear: Congress must let the VEETC expire at the end of the year.

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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