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Ethanol lobby looks ahead

DANIEL LOOKER 12/10/2010 @ 1:25pm Business Editor

Leaders of Growth Energy, the newest of several groups lobbying for ethanol, expressed thanks Friday for the Senate’s inclusion of a 45 cent a gallon tax credit for ethanol in a tax bill the is expected to come up for a vote on Wednesday. And they looked ahead to passage in the House.

“First, we want to thank both President Obama and a number of congressional champions for incuding the ethanol tax credit extensions in the legislation,” said Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy.

It would support job creation, Buis said, “jobs that can’t be outsourced.”

Added Jim Nussle, the group’s president,  “the national job numbers are still poor and there’s currently not a huge sign of improvement on the horizon, so extending tax policy such as this for ethanol is good, not only for our industry, but it’s good for creating jobs, American jobs.”

The industry has already created about 400,000 jobs, he said.

Buis said the group will be lobbying every member of the House to support the legislation with the ethanol tax credit, an effort that began months ago.

“A lot of the debate is based on misinformation. It’s very much an orchestrated campaign of misinformation,” he said. “If the debate were based on real facts, we’re confident we’ll win.”

Later, Buis told Agriculture.com that he expects rural Democrats defeated in the last election to continue to support ethanol in the lame duck session of Congress still controlled by their party.

“I don’t anticipate any of the people who’ve been our champions in the past to suddenly quit,” Buis said.

Buis said that his group will work with others to push for reform of ethanol support in the next Congress and won’t wait until the end of 2011, when the tax credit, if approved, is expected to expire.

Growth Energy has proposed shifting federal support for ethanol from tax credits to building infrastructure that would allow ethanol to reach more consumers. Buis said that his group will work with other ethanol groups to push for reform.

A plan put forth by all interest groups would shift tax credits from ethanol blenders to production plants, with more energy efficient plants getting higher levels of support. The lobbying groups also favor increasing market access, through blender pumps and flexible fuel vehicles.  


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