FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 9, 2011
HYDEVILLE, VT – At a Lake Bomoseen press conference on Thursday, Rep. Peter Welch joined Vermont sportsmen and small business owners in calling for an end to ethanol subsidies, which costs taxpayers $6 billion annually, drive up food prices and cause damage to small engines such as those used in boats, motorcycles and lawnmowers.
Federal subsidies to the ethanol industry currently exist in three forms: a $.045 per gallon tax credit, a protective import tariff of $0.54 per gallon and a renewable energy fuel mandate, which requires the blending of ethanol and other biodiesel in U.S. transportation fuel. These subsidies remain in place despite a General Accountability Office (GAO) report that questioned the need to subsidize this mature industry.
“It simply doesn’t make sense for taxpayers to continue subsidizing a mature and profitable industry, especially at a time when Congressional leaders are proposing drastic cuts in fuel assistance, student loans, high speed rail and Medicare,” Welch said. “I’m also hearing from Vermonters that ethanol is damaging the engines to boats, chainsaws and lawnmowers. It is high time we end this unnecessary subsidy.”
“Ethanol means that people who have the older equipment spend more money to maintain it,” said Barbara Woodard of Woodard Marine, a boat dealership on Lake Bomoseen. “This is one more barrier for families that want to head out and enjoy the water.”
Welch is working in Congress to tackle ethanol subsidies. He is a co-sponsor of the Repeal Ethanol Subsidies Today Act (H.R. 1188), which would terminate subsidies to the industry. He has also written to House Speaker John Boehner urging him to allow a vote in the House on repealing these subsidies.