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Grassroots Voice: Support is Critically Important Now
by Brian Jennings

More than 200 million gallons of oil has polluted the Gulf of Mexico and U.S. shorelines for more than 100 days, costing tens of billions of dollars – but the oil subsidies roll on (some for nearly a century) and Congressional inaction on ethanol policy continues.

What more evidence does Congress need to finally take action to remove Big Oil’s grip on federal subsidies and fuel choice, and instead support ethanol tax credits, flexible fuel vehicles, and blender pumps that provide meaningful fuel choice for consumers?

Oil is among the nation’s most subsidized industries, with a benefit or tax favor at virtually every step from exploration to extraction. In a July 4 article in The New York Times, Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) said, “The flow of revenues (federal) to oil companies is like the gusher at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico: heavy and constant.”

According to a Congressional Budget Office report released in 2005, oil field leases and drilling equipment are taxed at a rate of 9 percent, much lower than the overall rate of 25 percent for other businesses. Further, according to Senate Finance Committee records, BP used a tax break to write off 70 percent of the rent for Deepwater Horizon – a deduction of more than $225,000 per day since the lease began. Many offshore oil rigs, including the Deepwater Horizon, are registered in foreign lands where they are subject to lower taxes and less stringent safety regulations.

By the time you read this relief wells are supposed to be functioning, but history shows they can take time. The 1979 Ixtoc Gulf oil spill wasn't contained until three months after the first of two relief wells was completed. What’s more, relief wells are not foolproof, having been described by some as akin to trying to “hit a dinner plate from 20,000 feet” of drilling on the first try.

ACE and others have repeatedly made the case that in response to the oil spill catastrophe Congress should extend ethanol tax incentives and adopt new FFV and blender pump policies which could help us reduce our dependence on both foreign oil and unconventional oil from deepwater wells.

With so few legislative days remaining in Congress before the mid-term elections, grassroots support is the most important thing we have. Please contact your Members of Congress and the White House in support of these steps. Only grassroots leadership and voices such as your own can help us cross this important finish line.

© American Coalition for Ethanol, all rights reserved.
The American Coalition for Ethanol publishes Ethanol Today magazine each month to cover the biofuels industryís hot topics, including cellulosic ethanol, E85, corn ethanol, food versus fuel, ethanolís carbon footprint, E10, E15, and mid-range ethanol blends.
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