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Final Congressional Actions Meet with Corn Growers' Approval

Congress ends the year by extending an ethanol tariff with a boost for cellulosic ethanol, approving offshore drilling, and strengthening trade with Vietnam.

The National Corn Growers Association hailed some of the 109th Congress' final legislative actions as big victories for corn growers.

"Congress ended with a bang and corn growers are very happy with the legislative victories," says NCGA president Ken McCauley in an NCGA release.

The House and Senate passed legislation approving offshore continental shelf oil and gas development, a bill which opens up 8.3 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico towards production of oil and natural gas.

"The increased domestic supplies of natural gas will help corn producers with the price of the needed inputs such as fertilizer and irrigation costs – all items that are putting a serious strain on growers operations," McCauley says.

In addition to supporting fossil fuel production, Congress also extended a secondary tariff on ethanol through 2009, a provision to boost cellulosic biomass as a source for ethanol by allowing for a 50% accelerated depreciation in the year a new cellulosic ethanol facility begins service, and a reduced tax rate on methanol or ethanol derived from coal.

"The ethanol tariff extension legislation which includes a boost for cellulosic ethanol will ensure our tax money does not grow another country's ethanol industry," McCauley says.

Congress also passed a measure granting Permanent Normal Trade Relations with Vietnam. The bills will now go to President Bush, who has indicated that he will sign them.

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