Tens of thousands of jobs could be a stake if Congress fails to extend key ethanol tax incentives in the lame duck session warned a group of leading ethanol and agriculture advocates in a letter to House and Senate leadership.

Writing to Congressional leaders ahead of their scheduled White House visit Thursday, the Renewable Fuels Association, along with the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE), Growth Energy, the National Association of Wheat Growers, the National Corn Growers Association and the National Sorghum Producers, encouraged them to extend and/or address three key ethanol-related tax policies. These policies include: extension of the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC), extension of the Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Credit and broaden the definition of the cellulosic ethanol producer tax credit to include additional feedstocks like algae.

“The ethanol industry has been an essential component of our nation’s effort to achieve energy security and improve our environment,” the groups wrote. “The volumes of ethanol produced domestically have been uniquely successful in reducing our dependence on foreign, imported oil, and have helped to reduce our nation’s emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants. In addition, the ethanol industry has helped to revitalize our nation’s rural and farm economies by providing a value-added market for agriculture, and supported the creation of hundreds of thousands of non-exportable, high-paying green jobs.”

On VEETC, the groups wrote: “Without VEETC, ethanol blending will become less economically attractive to refiners, resulting in a substantial decline in discretionary blending, and upward pressure on consumer gasoline prices. As a consequence of reduced demand, ethanol plants will close. One analysis concluded that as many as 118,000 jobs could be lost if Congress fails to extend this important incentive.”

On the Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Credit, which allows fuel station owners to write off 50%, or up to $50,000, of the cost of alternative fuel infrastructure upgrades, the groups wrote: “Today, there are approximately 160,000 retail fuel outlets around the nation; however, only 2,300 are fitted with equipment able to dispense E85, and just a few hundred that can offer mid-level blends. It is essential that there continue to be incentives to develop the infrastructure needed to make the ethanol blended fuels available to consumers.”

On cellulosic ethanol and other advanced biofuels, the groups wrote: “We believe that as we look to extend incentives for ethanol and incentives to support infrastructure, we must continue to support efforts that help the next generation of ethanol overcome commercialization hurdles. To this end, we call on Congress to pass legislation expanding the cellulosic biofuels producer tax credit which includes a broader range of eligible advanced biofuels including algae, and the ability to allow developers to elect a refundable 30% investment tax credit.”

“Not only are these incentives necessary to provide certainty in the marketplace as we work collaboratively to reform the Federal tax structure for renewable energy, but
they are also essential if we, as a nation, are intent on continuing our goals of achieving energy security, creating green jobs, and revitalizing rural communities across the country,” the groups concluded.

The letter was sent to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.