Cutting Corn Ethanol Subsidies: Congress Should Be All Ears

from Wildlife Promise

1 3/31/2011 // By Aviva Glaser // , , ,

As early as this afternoon, the Senate may vote on an amendment that would save taxpayers billions of dollars by cutting wasteful and environmentally-harmful corn ethanol subsidies. At a time when Congress has been fighting over how deeply to cut the programs that protect our clean air, clean water, and natural resources, cutting unnecessary subsidies for corn ethanol should be a no-brainer.

Yet, only a few months ago, Congress voted to extend the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC), a tax credit for corn ethanol that will cost U.S. taxpayers almost $6 billion per year and contributes more carbon pollution than it saves. The Congressional Budget Office, the Government Accountability Office, and leading economists across the country agree that these subsidies are unnecessary and barely have any impact on ethanol production, prices or jobs.

Corn ethanol is contributing to destruction of critical habitat for wildlife.  In fact, a University of Michigan study found that in areas where corn production has greatly increased, there have been decreases of as much as 30 percent in populations of grassland birds like the Western Meadowlark.  If this trend is not reversed soon, expanding corn ethanol production will have an irreversible impact on wildlife species across the Great Plains.

Some members of Congress are willing to take a stand against these wasteful subsidies. Earlier this month, Senators Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) introduced The Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit Repeal Act. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) also introduced legislation that would cut subsidies and lower the tariff on ethanol imports. On the House side, Representatives Blumenauer (D-OR), Lance (R-NJ), Womack (R-AR), and Boren (D-OK) all introduced similar pieces of bipartisan legislation as well, along with a host of other cosponsors willing to stand up against corn ethanol.

With a vote coming as early as this afternoon, we need your help. Tell your Senator to say no to wasteful and environmentally damaging corn ethanol subsidies. Take Action Now!