Tens of thousands of jobs could be at stake if Congress fails to extend key ethanol tax incentives in the lame duck session. That's the warning a group of leading ethanol and agriculture advocates sent out in a letter to House and Senate leadership. The group, which will visit Washington, D.C and the White House Thursday, encouraged Congress to extend and/or address three key ethanol-related tax policies. These policies include extension of the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit, extension of the Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Credit and broaden the definition of the cellulosic ethanol producer tax credit to include additional feedstocks like algae.
The groups wrote that the volumes of ethanol produced domestically have been uniquely successful in reducing our dependence on foreign, imported oil and have helped to reduce our nation's emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants. In addition, the ethanol industry has helped to revitalize our nation's rural and farm economies by providing a value added market for agriculture, and supported the creation of hundreds of thousands of non-exportable, high-paying green jobs.
The groups expected to visit the White House Thursday include: the Renewable Fuels Association, the American Coalition for Ethanol, Growth Energy, the National Association of Wheat Growers, the National Corn Growers Association and National Sorghum Producers.
Former Senate Agriculture Chair Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, took up the call this week to renew the ethanol blender's credit that expires at the end of the year. Harkin acknowledged the credit costs nearly $6 billion a year, but refuted its detractors arguing it saves much more, almost 20 cents a gallon.
"So that savings of 17 cents a gallon save consumers in America $24 billion a year," Harkin said. "So it's not a net cost to taxpayers, but a real savings of four to five times the cost in the tax credit."
Harkin added that it will generate more than 400,000 new jobs when ethanol reaches full production levels in 2022.