Blender pumps fueling appropriations battle
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WASHINGTON, March 25, 2015 - Corn ethanol advocate Growth Energy is fighting against the requests of several lawmakers who wrote to the House Appropriations leadership to diminish government support for the ethanol industry.
In a letter obtained by Agri-Pulse, a group of 18 members of Congress - 15 Republicans and three Democrats - ask House agriculture appropriations leadership to include “language to limit continued government support for corn ethanol” when drafting FY 2016 funding levels for USDA. Specifically, the group ask House agriculture appropriations chair Robert Aderholdt, R-Ala., and ranking member Sam Farr, D-Calif., for restrictions on using USDA funds to promote ethanol exports or make grants for blender pumps, which allow higher blends of ethanol to be sold at gas pumps.
“One of the big drivers of ethanol prices and supply is an artificial market, created by the federal government,” the letter said. “As food and feed stocks are increasingly diverted into fuel, we will continue to see negative impacts on all Americans, particularly those who work and live in rural America.”
In a statement, Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis said the request is “neither helpful nor logical.”
“The government is not creating an artificial market for ethanol, but the (Renewable Fuel Standard) is seeking to level the playing field and ensure alternatives to fossil fuels have market access so consumers are given a choice instead of a de-facto mandate to use petroleum based products,” Buis said.
Buis also pointed out that requested provisions are unnecessary because of a mandate in the 2014 Farm Bill prohibiting USDA funding being used for blender pump grants. He said those behind the letter “are bent on trying to alter or damage the RFS as a favor to special interests.”
“This request is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt by special interests to push their agenda through Congress,” Buis said. “This request is a waste of time and effort and should be treated as such.”
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