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Archives: 2011

Three Big Winners from Ending Ethanol Subsidies

by Leticia Phillips on Dec 23, 2011

A day many thought might never arrive is finally just around the corner. Today, December 23rd, Congress finished their work to head home for the holidays, and we can now say confidently that ethanol’s 30-year-old tax credit and import tariff will finally expire on December 31st. Ending these costly and unnecessary subsidies just eight short days from now will save taxpayers money, help lower fuel prices and provide Americans with greater access to advanced renewable fuels like sugarcane ethanol. Let’s take a look at the three big winners from changing ethanol policy. Read More

Clearing Up a Few Tariff Myths

by Leticia Phillips on Dec 15, 2011

You can tell without looking at a calendar that this year’s legislative session in Congress is drawing to a close. Just as an increase in harried shoppers announces the Holidays are here, the volume of unfounded accusations has grown louder as we approach the December 31st expiration for the misguided tariff on imported ethanol. The abundant misinformation signals a desperate attempt by those who benefit from the 30-year-old trade barrier to preserve their protected status. So let’s have an honest debate and clear up a few misconceptions. Read More

73 House Leaders Call for Elimination of Ethanol Tariff

by Leticia Phillips on Dec 13, 2011

Last Friday, a bipartisan group of 73 Members of the House of Representatives joined together to call for an end to the ethanol tax credit and import tariff as scheduled on December 31st. They sent a letter to Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi asking that leadership “resist calls to expand or create new ethanol subsidies in the eleventh hour” as the first session of the 112th Congress nears its conclusion. Read More

Unfair Legislation to Extend Tariff

by Leticia Phillips on Dec 06, 2011

On December 2nd, four members of the U.S. House of Representatives introduced H.R. 3552 to extend the import tax on foreign ethanol. Saying that we are disappointed is a gross understatement, especially given that we are 26 days away from expiration and the momentum has been growing to bring a final end to this outdated policy. This handful of policy makers is trying to change the rules to help a few, and they’re doing it at the expense of the American taxpayer. Read More

Ten Things We’re Thankful For in 2011

by Leticia Phillips on Nov 23, 2011

As we all reflect back on a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends – and with our tummies stuffed full of turkey – we are finding lots of reasons to be grateful for a remarkable 2011. A New Year is just around the corner, and this time of year always begs for a look back over where we’ve been and where we’re headed. So, in the spirit of thankfulness, we thought we might share with you with some of our favorite milestones from this year. Read More

A Two Way Street: The Benefits of Free Trade

by Leticia Phillips on Oct 31, 2011

The past few weeks have been busy for the international trade market – especially the ethanol sector. For starters, the United States solidified its new position as the world’s largest ethanol exporter. American corn growers successfully lobbied Congress to pass a handful of free trade agreements that open new markets for greater export opportunities. And finally, more than 100 Brazilian sugarcane processors registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to start providing Americans with cleaner, advanced renewable fuel. Read More

Getting More Bang for our Buck out of Trade Policy

by Leticia Phillips on Oct 19, 2011

At a time when Americans are looking to squeeze the last penny out of every drop of income and when our Congressional leaders are cutting budget everywhere they can, the International Trade Commission (ITC) gave the United States some very good news. And the timing couldn’t have been any better. Read More

Congress is Back – What You Should Know

by Leticia Phillips on Sep 14, 2011

With August recess in the rearview mirror and last bit of sand tumbling from our flip-flops, we’re all turning our attention away from sunny beaches and back to Washington. The ethanol debate has seen its fair share of twists and turns over the past year, and it’s okay if you missed some of them during vacation. So, to prepare for the final legislative push of 2011, here’s a quick recap of everything you need to know. Read More

Congress Leaves for August Recess Without Passing Ethanol Deal

by Leticia Phillips on Aug 08, 2011

These past few weeks have been particularly intense in Washington as the President, the Congress, and the nation worked to find a solution to the debt limit crisis. With the hours waning and a deadline drawing near, our elected officials were able to come together to pass a law allowing the Federal Treasury to continue paying the country’s bills. Read More

Senators Unveil Bipartisan Deal to End Ethanol Tariff

by Leticia Phillips on Jul 11, 2011

Congress took another important step toward establishing a global market for clean energy last week. A bipartisan group of farm-state senators and ethanol critics unveiled a compromise agreement on Thursday to end the ethanol tax credit and import tariff later this month, apply most of the $2 billion saved to deficit reduction and divert the remaining funds to support advanced biofuels and alternative fueling infrastructure. The proposed deal provides further evidence that lawmakers are committed to ending these costly and unnecessary subsidies already set to expire on December 31, 2011. Read More

A Major Victory for Clean Energy & Market Competition

by Leticia Phillips on Jun 17, 2011

Yesterday’s vote was a symbol of changing times. Politico announced “there are no longer any sacred cows when it come to energy,” while the Wall Street Journal called it “an ethanol miracle.” Read More

Time to Vote

by Leticia Phillips on Jun 10, 2011

The political winds are changing on ethanol policy. The shift has been visible for weeks as one Republican hopeful after another - Tim Pawlenty, Sarah Palin and then John Huntsman - did what was once unthinkable in advance of the important Iowa caucuses that begin the Presidential nomination contests: they questioned the need or outright opposed continuing current ethanol subsides. That same sentiment will soon be put to the test on Capitol Hill as the U.S. Senate appears poised to vote on an amendment that would finally end 30 years of tax credits and trade protection for ethanol. Read More

Feinstein-Coburn Bill to End Ethanol Tariff Unites Progressives and Conservatives

by Leticia Phillips on May 18, 2011

The bipartisan effort in the Senate to end the ethanol tariff and subsidy is garnering considerable praise among editorialists across the country and ideological spectrum. From the heart of liberal activism in San Francisco to the halls of one of DC’s most conservative think tanks, Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Tom Coburn’s (R-OK) Ethanol Subsidy and Tariff Repeal Act is uniting unlikely supporters of every stripe. Read More

An Encouraging Sign: Sens. Coburn and Feinstein Join Forces

by Leticia Phillips on May 04, 2011

In yet another sign of mounting support for ethanol reform, news broke last night of a fresh bipartisan effort to end the tariff on imported ethanol and the ethanol subsidy that costs taxpayers $6 billion per year. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Tom Coburn (R-OK) introduced an amendment to the small business bill that would sunset both policies less than two months from today. The unlikely pair is joined by five co-sponsors from across the country and political aisle – and a vast coalition spanning business associations, taxpayer advocates, hunger and development organizations, agricultural groups, free-market groups, religious organizations, environmental groups, budget hawks, and public interest organizations. Read More

Three Reasons Ethanol Subsidies are Different from Biodiesel

by Leticia Phillips on Apr 28, 2011

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has recently been testifying in Congress and meeting with editorial boards to defend the corn ethanol industry’s $6 billion per year subsidies. While Vilsack concedes the ethanol tax credit and tariff on imported ethanol should be reformed, he’s advocating for a costly multi-year phase out. And he’s offered a questionable comparison as justification – that eliminating subsidies today would have the same dire economic consequences that it did for the U.S. biodiesel industry. When the biodiesel tax credit expired at the end of 2009, production decreased by 50 percent and thousands of jobs were lost the following year. However, comparing biodiesel and ethanol is like apples to oranges for three key reasons. Read More

Calls for Ethanol Reform Mount in the House and Senate

by Leticia Phillips on Apr 15, 2011

Yesterday marked one hundred days since the start of the 112th Congress and during that time, calls for ethanol policy reform gained considerable momentum. Deep bipartisan skepticism about continued subsidies and trade protection was on full display in the Senate on Wednesday, as Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack faced the Environment and Public Works Committee. Read More

Obama's Visit Signals New Chapter for U.S.-Brazil Energy Partnership

by Leticia Phillips on Mar 22, 2011

This past weekend I had the honor of traveling to Brazil to participate in the events surrounding President Obama’s visit, including the Brazil-U.S. Business Summit promoted by the Brazil-U.S. Business Council in Brasilia. Energy policy topped the agenda and prominent members of Brazil’s sugarcane ethanol industry were there to take part in the dialog. Read More

President Obama and the Sweeter Alternative

by Leticia Phillips on Mar 17, 2011

President Obama heads to Brazil this weekend, and we're excited that he will soon see for himself how that country has replaced more than half of its gasoline needs with sugarcane ethanol - making gasoline the alternative fuel there. Brazil and the United States have an opportunity to strengthen their energy partnership, and we anticipate a constructive discussion on how allowing sugarcane ethanol to compete fairly in the U.S. would save American drivers money at the pump, cut dependence on Middle East oil and improve the environment. Read More

Key Developments in the Ethanol Debate

by Leticia Phillips on Mar 15, 2011

It’s been a little quiet here on the Sweeter Alternative blog for a couple months. But as you’ll see below, there’s been no stoppage in the ethanol debate since our last post. Today we’re picking things back up, and I’m excited to introduce myself and another new voice in our campaign to make cleaner, more affordable energy choices available to Americans. I’m Leticia Phillips, the representative in North America for the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA). Read More

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