Murkowski Votes to Reform Ethanol Subsidies

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today signaled her support for reforming federal ethanol subsidies by voting for an amendment to repeal the ethanol tax credit and import tariff.

“The time has come to reform the most costly and least necessary assistance provided by the government,” Murkowski said. “It’s difficult to justify the continuation of these policies with the deficit set to exceed $1.6 trillion this year alone, and other federal support for ethanol production, including the Renewable Fuel Standard, remaining in place.”

The amendment – which failed on a 40-59 vote – was offered by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, to the Economic Development Act (S. 782). It would have terminated the 45-cent-per-gallon Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC), as well as the 54-cent-per-gallon tariff on ethanol imports, on June 30, or the date of the bill’s enactment. The tax credit and the tariff are currently scheduled to expire at the end of 2011.

A wide range of companies and organizations – ranging from environmental and agricultural groups to the refiners who often benefit from VEETC – have endorsed its termination.  The Government Accountability Office has noted that VEETC is “largely unneeded” today to ensure demand for domestic ethanol production.