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End of the line for ethanol? (bipartisan Senate group signs letter calling for end to subsidies)
Hotair ^ | 11/30/2010 | Ed Morrissey

Posted on 11/30/2010 1:20:26 PM PST by SeekAndFind

Has the federal government’s appetite for ethanol ended?  A bipartisan group of Senators signed a letter today calling for an end to subsidies and tariffs designed to protect and enhance domestic production of ethanol, which has been until recently the darling of the alternative-energy movement.  In a sign of how far ethanol subsidies have fallen from favor, the letter addressed to both Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell has the signatures of such liberal luminaries as Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein, and the newly-elected Chris Coons:

In a clear sign of momentum against ethanol subsidies, a bipartisan group of more than a dozen senators has signed onto a letter urging Senate leaders to let the subsidies expire during this Congress, a move that could put many officials in a tricky political spot and could even have ramifications for the 2012 presidential race.

The letter, which I obtained from a source, was authored by senators Dianne Feinstein and Jon Kyl, and includes a number of Democrats and Republicans, including John McCain, Susan Collins, Richard Burr, and Mike Enzi. This is key, because the question of whether the subsidies should expire is emerging as a key test — just like earmarks — of whether Republicans are serious about reining in spending and the deficit.

While this issue could divide Dems along regional lines, it’s more directly relevant to the GOP. With leading GOP senators now coming out for letting the subsidies expire, this could up the pressure on Republican senators who backed the subsidies in the past, such as Chuck Grassley and Orrin Hatch, putting them on the wrong side of what may emerge as a key litmus test for the Tea Party and potentially dividing the GOP caucus.

Greg Sargent misses the significance of Boxer’s name on this list.  Boxer has a cap-and-trade bill stalled in the Senate, earlier versions of which relied on ethanol to meet its goals.  The ethanol subsidies allowed Midwest farmers to have some buy-in for a bill that would otherwise levy some significant costs on agriculture.  This more or less puts an end to that support, which means that Boxer has acknowledged the death of cap-and-trade.

Will this divide the GOP?  It will make for some contentious discussions on agricultural policy, no doubt, especially in the House where the GOP picked up a number of seats.  But it’s just as likely to hurt Democrats in the Senate, especially those running for 2012 re-elections from ag-heavy states.  Ben Nelson of Nebraska is the obvious incumbent for the hot seat, but Jon Tester in Montana and Mark Pryor in Arkansas also will have to answer for it.

It may, however, have some impact on the 2012 presidential nomination race, which starts in Iowa — the heart of corn country.  It’s not necessary for a GOP candidate to win Iowa in order to win the nomination — Mike Huckabee won it last year and finished a distant third — but it’s usually necessary for a candidate to do well in the caucuses.  Tea Party activists will see an end to subsidies as a success, but will GOP presidential candidates start pandering to corn farmers in Iowa to gain an advantage in the first round of the nominating process?  That may well be a good test for the sincerity of those candidates running as small-government conservatives.

The letter makes clear just how much the government has intervened to coddle ethanol production:

Historically, our government has helped a product compete in one of three ways: subsidize it, protect it from competition, or require its use.  We understand that ethanol may be the only product receiving all three forms of support from the US government at this time.

It’s long past time for those efforts to cease.  Converting food to fuel not only doesn’t work as a replacement for gasoline, it expands starvation by artificially inflating corn prices and making it more difficult to purchase.  This letter might be the first step in dismantling an expensive and ongoing failure.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: energy; ethanol; subsidies
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1 posted on 11/30/2010 1:20:33 PM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind
Yeah, well this is great. I whole-heartedly support terminating this ghastly subsidy, but someone please tell me that this also includes and ending the ethanol mandate!
2 posted on 11/30/2010 1:23:19 PM PST by Obadiah (BHO -- out the door in 4!)
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To: SeekAndFind

The subsidy and mandate need to be ended.

We need to end our current farm policy of over production.

We still need to encourage added-value ag, just not subsidized and mandated.


3 posted on 11/30/2010 1:26:19 PM PST by Free Vulcan (The battle isn't over. Hold their feet to the fire.)
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To: SeekAndFind

There IS good news tonight!!

Small step by small step we will take back our country.


4 posted on 11/30/2010 1:27:10 PM PST by Calif4Palin (Proud Moose head....)
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To: SeekAndFind

There’s a communist in Iowa with a last name rhyming with “barkin” who will detonate himself if this happens.


5 posted on 11/30/2010 1:27:52 PM PST by WOBBLY BOB ( "I don't want the majority if we don't stand for something"- Jim Demint)
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To: Obadiah

I’d love to know who voted for this waste of money, and who of that group is still in Congress...especially on the R side of the aisle.


6 posted on 11/30/2010 1:28:15 PM PST by ab01
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To: Obadiah

Obviously, the corn industry didn’t make a big enough donation to candidates, and now the politicians are teaching it a lesson.

Hey, just because the economy is bad and your business is hurting is no reason to cut back on your political donations.


7 posted on 11/30/2010 1:28:31 PM PST by Brookhaven (Voter Fraud is Treason)
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To: SeekAndFind

About figgin time!

Subsidies so we get a fuel which delivers less MPG.

Only liberlas could deliver such a braindead scheme.


8 posted on 11/30/2010 1:28:51 PM PST by Red in Blue PA (Planning on using 911? Google "Brittany Zimmerman")
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To: SeekAndFind

I’m going to keep banging my drum on this issue.

If you don’t like subsidies for corn ethanol, you are going to HATE the subsidies required for ethanol from cellulosic sources (like switchgrass). The cellulosic sources of ethanol are going to be a huge burden on the federal budget. It is a byproduct of the global warming agenda through carbon sequestration. If we hold congress accountable for this wasting agenda they are going to shove this down our throats.


9 posted on 11/30/2010 1:28:57 PM PST by rusty millet
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To: rusty millet

If we “don’t” hold congress accountable...


10 posted on 11/30/2010 1:30:36 PM PST by rusty millet
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To: Red in Blue PA

“a fuel which delivers less MPG”

And destroys older cars! The govt care so deeply for the poor! s/


11 posted on 11/30/2010 1:30:56 PM PST by pepperdog (Why are Democrats Afraid of a Voter ID Law?)
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To: SeekAndFind

Can someone explain what is really going on behind the scenes? After decades of politicians bowing down to every wish of the corn industry:

(1) Al Gore comes out and says corn ethanol was a mistake.

(2) Then just days later, congress moves to cut corn ethanol subsidies.

SOMETHING happened to cause this sudden change. It didn’t just happen overnight without someone behind the scenes orchastrating it.


12 posted on 11/30/2010 1:32:07 PM PST by Brookhaven (Voter Fraud is Treason)
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To: Obadiah

BTW, I was in South Dakota a couple of years ago and noticed they had “flex fuel” gas (very high alcohol content) for well over a dollar less than regular. I did some math regarding the energy content of alcohol vs gasoline and the percentage of alcohol in the fuel and determined it was still cheaper to buy the “expensive” gasoline because of the significantly better mpg I could expect.

And if this subsidy goes away, I have a feeling flex-fuel will too, unless people will really be willing to pay more for significantly less energy.

All in all, this is a VERY good development.


13 posted on 11/30/2010 1:32:54 PM PST by RobRoy (The US Today: Revelation 18:4)
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To: SeekAndFind
lol

Whatever- This is simply in the publics mind because of the media talk, the pumps with the E85, the mandated use/mix of ethanol in non-E85 fuels...........

Reality is the government as dozens of subsidy programs it's essentially wasting money on to chase some “green” agenda that sounded good.

Green subsidies amount to scams where often lobbyists and big business are actually using the eco agenda to get some free money. Of course anything "green" cannot be criticized or questioned and is viewed as the automatic moral high ground and underdog even if in reality it's big business that's largely pushing this......i.e. CFL.

14 posted on 11/30/2010 1:33:02 PM PST by Red6 (IMHO)
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To: SeekAndFind

Move Iowa caucus back 60 days and no more asking the rest of us to bend over for them.


15 posted on 11/30/2010 1:35:03 PM PST by misterrob (Thug Life....now showing at a White House near you....)
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To: Brookhaven

RE: SOMETHING happened to cause this sudden change. It didn’t just happen overnight without someone behind the scenes orchastrating it.


And look at the signatories -— Dianne “freakin’” Feinstein !!, Barbara “cap and Trade” Boxer, Chris “The bearded marxist” Coons !!

The world has changed !! I just saw a pig fly.


16 posted on 11/30/2010 1:36:39 PM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: Brookhaven

“Can someone explain what is really going on behind the scenes? After decades of politicians bowing down to every wish of the corn industry:
(1) Al Gore comes out and says corn ethanol was a mistake.
(2) Then just days later, congress moves to cut corn ethanol subsidies.
SOMETHING happened to cause this sudden change. It didn’t just happen overnight without someone behind the scenes orchastrating it.”

Notice that algore came out against “first generation” ethanol - derived from corn.

This is a step to mandating “second generation” cellulosic ethanol from grasses and other sources. The science IS NOT THERE to make this feasible. This effort is part of the green agenda. There are a several global warmer senators who signed the letter.

Don’t be fooled. Ethanol from corn is multiples more efficient than ethanol from grasses - including the famous switchgrass. Let congress know that you do not support this ethanol from grass boondoggle.


17 posted on 11/30/2010 1:37:41 PM PST by rusty millet
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To: SeekAndFind

“And look at the signatories -— Dianne “freakin’” Feinstein !!, Barbara “cap and Trade” Boxer, Chris “The bearded marxist” Coons !!”

The world has not changed. They are digging deeper into the junk science of ethanol from grass.

It’s “green” doncha know.


18 posted on 11/30/2010 1:41:00 PM PST by rusty millet
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To: Obadiah

I believe that the EPA has control over at least part of the mandate. The EPA will allow (require?) 15 percent ethanol content in 2011. Originally the EPA required ethanol usage as a replacement for MTBE. Congress passed a law with huge biofuel mandates in 2005 and increased in another law in 2007. I doubt that Congress will repeal the mandates although the mandates are absolutely preposterous.


19 posted on 11/30/2010 1:41:49 PM PST by businessprofessor
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To: rusty millet

My bet is that they’re going to up the tax at the pump.


20 posted on 11/30/2010 1:44:09 PM PST by Sacajaweau
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To: Brookhaven

Could be a RINO head fake. Say one thing and fund it through a back door.

Then move on to the next boondoggle.


21 posted on 11/30/2010 1:44:47 PM PST by WOBBLY BOB ( "I don't want the majority if we don't stand for something"- Jim Demint)
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To: SeekAndFind

CA requires it, so all that means is prices go even higher for the junk.


22 posted on 11/30/2010 1:45:57 PM PST by A CA Guy ( God Bless America, God bless and keep safe our fighting men and women.)
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To: Free Vulcan

“We need to end our current farm policy of over production.”

Is someone forcing farmers to grow crops they don’t want to grow?


23 posted on 11/30/2010 1:47:37 PM PST by A Strict Constructionist (Oligarchy...never vote for the Ivy League candidate.)
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To: businessprofessor

Watch the appropriations for biofuels. Scream now in protest, or scream later from pain as we pay for it.


24 posted on 11/30/2010 1:47:55 PM PST by rusty millet
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To: SeekAndFind
"more than a dozen"

You need 51. But it's a start.

25 posted on 11/30/2010 1:49:39 PM PST by DannyTN
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To: A Strict Constructionist

They aren’t forcing anyone no, but they make it much much easier to play ball than go your own direction. Somewhat of an offer you can’t refuse.


26 posted on 11/30/2010 1:51:47 PM PST by Free Vulcan (The battle isn't over. Hold their feet to the fire.)
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To: ab01
I’d love to know who voted for this waste of money, and who of that group is still in Congress...especially on the R side of the aisle.

Sad to say, but this subsidized idiocy is one of President Bush's brainstorms and crowning acheivements.


27 posted on 11/30/2010 1:52:20 PM PST by Iron Munro (This is our culture; fight for it. This is our flag; pick it up. This is our country; take it back.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Dont we also need to end the over production of house’s brought on by the Home mtg int. deduction........

there are way too many houses, they take way too much wood to produce, they can be bought by the rich and middle class without govt subsidies.......

and with the number of people taking the deduction vrs a blenders credit for ethanol........it would bring in a heck of alot more back to the Fed. Treas. for the Left to spend.

and besides gas wont go up approx 54% by removing 10% of the fuel supply if the Home Mtg. Int. deduction is removed.


28 posted on 11/30/2010 1:55:57 PM PST by sbark
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To: Iron Munro

Soros just shorted corn, or maize for our Indian brothers who just got approval of their reparations.


29 posted on 11/30/2010 1:57:24 PM PST by BookaT (My cat's breath smells like cat food!)
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To: businessprofessor

So in other words, the subsidy may end but the mandate won’t. Therefore, the price of ethanol crap gas will skyrocket.


30 posted on 11/30/2010 1:58:05 PM PST by Obadiah (BHO -- out the door in 4!)
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To: sbark

an edit

54 cents per gal est. gas price increase without the ethanol production which amounts to 10% of total supply...

......a box of corn flakes goes up maybe 5.4 cents a box, meat up 15 cents a pound when corn price doubles....

its the middle man folks, the middle man.


31 posted on 11/30/2010 1:58:07 PM PST by sbark
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To: Iron Munro

Soros just shorted corn, or maize for our Indian brothers who just got approval of their reparations.


32 posted on 11/30/2010 2:01:08 PM PST by BookaT (My cat's breath smells like cat food!)
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To: Obadiah
but someone please tell me that this also includes and ending the ethanol mandate!

I hope it ends too but here many distributors (jobbers?) are ignoring it anyway. My chemical test kit has not detected ANY blended ethanol lately.

33 posted on 11/30/2010 2:03:34 PM PST by steve86
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To: SeekAndFind

sounds like they got a look at Intel estimates on Global Food Prices over the next couple of years and it made their blood run cold.


34 posted on 11/30/2010 2:21:45 PM PST by Buckeye McFrog
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To: Obadiah

While we are at it, reduce the diesel fuel standards to pre-2007 standards, relax the emissions standards for large trucks, and exempt the military from emissions standards.


35 posted on 11/30/2010 2:34:28 PM PST by Blood of Tyrants (Islam is the religion of Satan and Mohammed was his minion.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Ethanol manufacturers were going bankrupt with the subsidies.


36 posted on 11/30/2010 2:40:28 PM PST by <1/1,000,000th%
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To: SeekAndFind

Anyone need a job producing ethanol? There’s a company near Madison, WI recruiting. BTW, the plant in question went belly up not to long ago. Someone knows something that we don’t.


37 posted on 11/30/2010 2:58:31 PM PST by BigpapaBo (If it don't kill you it'll make you _________!)
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To: BigpapaBo

I forgot to add- I wouldn’t touch the job with a ten foot pole.

A big (S) sarcasm


38 posted on 11/30/2010 3:00:21 PM PST by BigpapaBo (If it don't kill you it'll make you _________!)
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To: SeekAndFind
Now maybe the price of gas will finally go down! MPG's will go up!

Win win!!

39 posted on 11/30/2010 3:00:28 PM PST by rawcatslyentist (Jeremiah 50:31 Behold, I am against you, O you most proud, said the Lord God of hosts.)
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To: rawcatslyentist

Econ 101....10% less supply proabably means a price increase of at least 54 cents a gal....


40 posted on 11/30/2010 3:09:36 PM PST by sbark
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To: RobRoy

Yes but there should be a way to phase out the law with provisions or mandates that specify increased domestic oil production coming on line for each ethanol plant that closes. We don’t want to just increase percentage f foreign oil !


41 posted on 11/30/2010 3:35:54 PM PST by aumrl (let's keep it real Conservatives)
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To: RobRoy

While alcohol has a lower energy content than gasoline, a higher percentage of the energy is extracted during the combustion process. In the end, you still get less energy out of ethanol, but not by as much as it would seem if you only compare energy contained, not energy released.


42 posted on 11/30/2010 3:39:08 PM PST by Darth Reardon (No offense to drunken sailors)
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To: SeekAndFind

About time, now if they would end all farm subsidies, that would be great.


43 posted on 11/30/2010 3:40:26 PM PST by upsdriver
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To: Darth Reardon

I know that I get a two to three MPG drop when I switch from real gas to the 10% mixture. I keep track of my mileage and type of gas used at every fill up, and I tend to run my tank to almost empty before I fill up because I am lazy and like to spend as little time at the gas station as possible.

The car is a Scion xB and I consider my evidence to be empirical. It may vary by car, of course.


44 posted on 11/30/2010 3:43:27 PM PST by RobRoy (The US Today: Revelation 18:4)
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To: aumrl

Naw. Just cut it loose. We’ll survive.


45 posted on 11/30/2010 3:44:16 PM PST by RobRoy (The US Today: Revelation 18:4)
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To: sbark
10% less of a more expensive poorer quality fuel.

Supply isn't a prob,...yet.

JCX2 here we come waaaaahooooo!!!!

46 posted on 11/30/2010 3:44:23 PM PST by rawcatslyentist (Jeremiah 50:31 Behold, I am against you, O you most proud, said the Lord God of hosts.)
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To: Buckeye McFrog

I think you hit the nail. They’ve seen the numbers.

Die Ethanol, Die
E-10 Sucks
Ethanol Fraud BTTT


47 posted on 11/30/2010 3:50:56 PM PST by Cold Heart
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To: sbark
Econ 101....10% less supply proabably means a price increase of at least 54 cents a gal....

More Econ 101.... open up more areas to oil drilling and the price will come down.

48 posted on 11/30/2010 3:53:17 PM PST by upsdriver
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To: SeekAndFind
paging AlGore...
49 posted on 11/30/2010 4:15:43 PM PST by Chode (American Hedonist - *DTOM* -ww- NO Pity for the LAZY)
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To: SeekAndFind

How will this affect people who plug their cars into the lampshade?


50 posted on 11/30/2010 4:54:40 PM PST by sergeantdave
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