U.S. Senators Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., have introduced the Ethanol Subsidy and Tariff Repeal Act. The bill would end 30 years and more than $30 billion of taxpayer support for the corn-based ethanol industry and would, as some believe, level the playing field for all commodities relying on corn as a major input.
Bill Donald, President of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association says NCBA supports the development of renewable and alternative fuels and they know ethanol plays a role in reducing our dependence on foreign oil.
"However, we don't support forcing taxpayers to prop up an industry that should be able to stand on its own two feet," Donald said. "All we are asking is to compete head-to-head for a bushel of corn."
Donald, a cattleman from Melville, Mon., says VEETC and the ethanol import tariff put other end-users of corn, including cattlemen and women, at a severe competitive disadvantage. According to Donald, from December 2007 to February 2010, the cattle feeding sector of the beef industry lost a record $7 billion in equity due to high feed costs and economic factors that have negatively affected beef demand.
Growth Energy co-chair General Wesley Clark spoke about the need for subsidies in the ntire energy area to be addressed.
"For starters, I think you could certainly take them away from the oil industry because it's an extremely profitable industry right now," Clark said. "I understand why they were there. It was to encourage domestic oil exploration and to keep our lead in this very strategic industry. But we've been very successful in that. So those subsidies probably could be eliminated."
General Clark says we're paying $400 billion a year as a country to import gasoline. He suggests taking that money and putting it into the infrastructure, let the service station operator have a chance to make the American fuels market competitive. Clark believes some of that money could help establish the necessary infrastructure to make ethanol more competitive.