With the future of corn ethanol hanging in the balance in Congress, the Ohio Corn Growers Association’s (OCGA) recent grassroots lobbying trip to Washington, D.C., garnered crucial support for an ethanol-blender’s tax credit, known as VEETC (Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Extension). The legislation continues the current tax credit for entities that blend ethanol with gasoline.
This week, U.S. Representative Mary Jo Kilroy (D-OH), of Ohio’s 15th congressional district, signed as a co-sponsor for the Renewable Fuels Reinvestment Act (HR 4940) that would extend key ethanol tax incentives until the year 2015, including the $0.45 per gallon blenders credit for ethanol use.
“Current ethanol tax policies are working to build out the industry, expand infrastructure and provide the foundation for new technologies to thrive,” said OCGA President John Davis, a Delaware County farmer.
Davis was among a group of farmer board members in Washington, D.C., the week of July 14. The group included Brent Hostetler of Union County, Bill Berg of Auglaize County, Gene Baumgardner of Fayette County, Anthony Bush of Morrow County, Mark Schweibert of Henry County, Paul Herringshaw of Wood County and OCGA staff members.
OCGA Executive Director Dwayne Siekman said corn growers believe that the extension of VEETC is vital to the industry.
“As our board and voting delegates visited with members of Congress this week, it was apparent to many in Congress that the need for market certainty is vital to job creation and that the ethanol-blender’s extension is in the best interests of America’s rural economy, environment and energy security,” Siekman said.
The biggest reason to continue the tax incentives is jobs, according to Renewable Fuels Association President Bob Dinneen. “Losing the tax incentive now will shutter plants and cost tens of thousands of jobs. This is a serious discussion with real world implications. Numerous ideas exists and due diligence must be done to ensure that the right ideas are put together so as to foster the continued growth of this industry.”
OCGA also stressed the importance of the need for increased ethanol blends and the need for atrazine, a vital herbicide used for growing corn that is under scrutiny by some environmentalists.
“Corn growers are facing tough issues with some reviews by the EPA that are unfounded,” Siekman said. “This is a crucial time for grassroots efforts in notifying Congress and the EPA where we stand.”