Mainstream media outlets have taken notice of former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty’s call for reform in the nation’s energy subsidies -- specifically reforming government supports for ethanol. An opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal called Pawlenty’s campaign comments in Iowa “downright amazing” -- given that he was speaking in the heart of corn country. However, farm state lawmakers and members of the ethanol industry have actually been discussing needed reforms for quite some time.
Brian Jennings is Executive Vice President of the American Coalition for Ethanol:
“Well, I think it’s important to take a step back first and note that Governor Pawlenty in his announcement said ALL energy subsidy. Oil subsidies... incentives for ethanol... need to be on the table, need to be changed. The United States has a spending problem and we need to address that. And so, we reacted, and simply said that we agree with the Governor, that everything ought to be on the table, and we pointed out that the ethanol industry is actually working in a very pro-active way to reduce the cost of our tax incentive.”
And Jennings says that may be the most important point in the conversation about the nation’s energy subsidies:
“Our organization and others are working on a plan with Republicans and Democrats in Congress, and with the White House to take our tax incentive and affectively modify that by allowing for more blender pumps and more flexible fuel vehicles, and helping the next generation of ethanol; the celluosic ethanol, sacrificing the tax incentive we have today for the fuels of tomorrow. So, we are already in the game, working hard to reduce the cost of our tax credit, and in some cases eliminate it, in exchange for a level playing field.”
Jennings says they’re pushing to include an ethanol reform package on any bill that works its way through Congress:
“This could happen this week, it could happen next month. I’m not exactly sure, but we are working very earnestly to move this as quickly as we possibly can.”
ACE describes itself as a grassroots organization with more than 16-hundred members nationwide - promoting the production and use of ethanol through public policies, education, promotion and market development.