Ethanol Industry Pokes Fun at Big Oil in 100th Birthday Celebration for Subsidies
March 13, 2013 12:04 PM
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Ethanol is making a point that Big Oil is receiving subsidies and ethanol isn't
Ethanol is holding one huge, sarcastic birthday party for Big Oil in celebration of its oldest subsidy enacted 100 years ago.
The 100th birthday for oil's oldest subsidy -- which began in 1913 -- will be prepared by the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA), which promotes Iowa ethanol and biodiesel growth, and the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE), which encourages the
production and use of ethanol
“And it dawned on us a few months ago that this is in fact the 100th birthday for oil subsidies and this calls for a party, and I think people can assume our tongues are firmly planted in our cheeks when we say we’re going to celebrate that fact,” said Monte Shaw, executive director of IRFA.
Why is the ethanol industry doing this? According to Shaw, the ethanol blenders tax credit expired in 2011, and ethanol has been forced to
continue on without any help
. However, Big Oil, which is already the most profitable industry in the world, still receives subsidies. The oldest, continuous subsidy was enacted in 1913, which is the topic of the birthday party.
“What we’re saying is, they’re there," said Shaw. "And we’re sick and tired of members of Congress who don’t know any better or don’t want to know any better, saying, oh, why do you need the RFS? Why do you this, why do you need that? Can’t you just compete on a level playing field? When the fact of the matter is, our competition has had 100 years of subsidization. They’ve had nearly 40 years of a petroleum mandate written into federal law that says unless you drive a flex-fuel vehicle, you will purchase gasoline with a minimum amount of petroleum (85% percent of petroleum). The playing field is overwhelmingly tilted to the oil industry and that has got to be a part of all discussions around the RFS."
The RFS is the Renewable Fuel Standard, which is a U.S. federal program that requires transportation fuel to have a certain amount of renewable fuels when sold in the U.S.
The birthday party, called "Century of Subsidies," will be held on Thursday, March 14, 2013 from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at 430 Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington DC.
There will be cake.
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Ethanol is still subsidized big time
3/15/2013 8:27:01 PM
"It turns out that corn farmers really don't care about ethanol subsidies all that much anymore, but there's a reason for that. Here is our own Tom Philpott writing in February 2010:
After a flirtation with reason last spring, the Obama EPA has signed off on the absurd, abysmal Renewable Fuel Standard established under Bush a couple of years ago—ensuring that farmers will continue to devote vast swaths of land to GHG-intensive corn, of which huge portion will ultimately be set aflame to power cars—but not before being transformed into liquid fuel in an energy-intensive process.
Tom's a liberal. Here is Aaron Smith, writing a couple of days ago for the conservative American Enterprise Institute:
Deficit hawks, environmentalists, and food processors are celebrating the expiration of the ethanol tax credit. This corporate handout gave $0.45 to ethanol producers for every gallon they produced and cost taxpayers $6 billion in 2011. So why did the powerful corn ethanol lobby let it expire without an apparent fight? The answer lies in legislation known as the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which creates government-guaranteed demand that keeps corn prices high and generates massive farm profits. Removing the tax credit but keeping the RFS is like scraping a little frosting from the ethanol-boondoggle cake.
The RFS mandates that at least 37 percent of the 2011-12 corn crop be converted to ethanol and blended with the gasoline that powers our cars…[As a result] the current price of corn on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange is about $6.50 per bushel—almost triple the pre-mandate level."
Ethanol is still subsidized through a back door now..
"A lot of people pay zero for the cellphone ... That's what it's worth." -- Apple Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook
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