U.S. Senators introduce bill to eliminate corn ethanol mandate

WASHINGTON Thu Dec 12, 2013 12:18pm EST

U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) (C), chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, speaks to reporters after departing a full-Senate briefing by Director of the National Security Agency General Keith Alexander (not pictured), at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, June 13, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) (C), chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, speaks to reporters after departing a full-Senate briefing by Director of the National Security Agency General Keith Alexander (not pictured), at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, June 13, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A group of 10 U.S. Senators introduced a bipartisan bill on Thursday to eliminate the corn ethanol mandate, arguing that current law raises the cost of food and animal feed and damages the environment.

The bill, introduced by Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat; Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican; and eight cosponsors, faces an uphill battle as many lawmakers from agricultural states support the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)that dictates that rising volumes of ethanol made from grains, including corn, be blended into motor fuel.

Feinstein said the bill supports development of advanced biofuels, including those from made from soybean oil, grasses and trees. But it would eliminate the mandate for corn-based ethanol, which currently represents the vast majority of biofuels produced in the United States.

She said the corn mandate diverts a large proportion of the U.S. corn crop towards making fuel, raising animal feed and food prices.

In 2012/13, over 4.6 billion bushels of corn was used for the production of ethanol and by-products, out of a drought-reduced total U.S. supply of 11.9 billion bushels, according to the Department of Agriculture.

"I strongly support requiring a shift to low-carbon advanced biofuel, including biodiesel, cellulosic ethanol and other revolutionary fuels. But a corn ethanol mandate is simply bad policy," Feinstein said in a statement.

Coburn said the corn ethanol mandate costs taxpayers billions of dollars and causes higher fuel prices at the pump.

"Eliminating this mandate will let market forces, rather than political and parochial forces, determine how to diversify fuel supplies in an ever-changing marketplace," Coburn said.

The ethanol industry suffered a blow last month when the Environmental Protection Agency, which administers the RFS, proposed the first cut in the use of biofuels since the law was expanded in 2007.

The EPA proposed cutting the overall 2014 mandate to 15.21 billion gallons, about 16 percent less than the current 2014 mandate's 18.15 billion gallons, and below this year's requirement of 16.55 billion gallons.

(Editing by Ros Krasny and Bernadette Baum)

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Comments (13)
AlkalineState wrote:
Ethanol pork was never a good idea. Now almost every senator and corn farmer is addicted to those subsidies. Surprise.

Dec 12, 2013 12:26pm EST  --  Report as abuse
cbj wrote:
@AlkalineState,

Most sane and logical thinking people have long since come to the conclusion that subsidies are addictive. This includes such programs that are near and dear to the hearts of prog-libs everywhere.
You do realize that many colleges and universities (public and private alike) peddle the various government grants and subsidies like tossing candy from a parade float. They have become beyond addicted it is now embedded and is now part of their DNA.

There are also the various ‘energy saving subsidies’ offered to the public for anything from new insulation to new furnaces. They are now part of the home building/buying process.

Now the ACA.

How about school lunch programs? Do you really think that the schools have not become addicted to them?

ALL subsidies are addictive you just happen to like some over others, for the publics own good I am sure. It’s like dealing with a chronically ill patient, the drugs don’t solve anything but they allow one the ability to endure the situation but never to rise above it.

Subsidies do not bring people out of poverty it only provides the giver the illusion of having done something good.

BTW, I do not support business subsidies either.

Dec 12, 2013 1:06pm EST  --  Report as abuse
DbPolk wrote:
About time. Never was a good idea. Killed at least 2 motors of mine, 1 car 1 boat.

Dec 12, 2013 1:17pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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