By Peter Cohn
Ethanol Credits Have a Major Beneficiary in Big Oil Firms
BP could stand to reap federal tax credits approaching $600 million this year for blending gasoline with corn-based ethanol, making the British oil and gas giant one of the largest beneficiaries of the 45 cents-per-gallon ethanol incentive.
The credit expires Dec. 31, and the House Ways and Means Committee is preparing as early as next month to debate a “green jobs” bill eyed as a vehicle for an extension. Environmentalists are seizing on the generally low esteem the public holds for BP at the moment, with the future of the roughly $5 billion-a-year ethanol credit in the balance.
“Generally, we feel that after 30 years, it’s finally time for ethanol to stand on its own,” said Dusty Horwitt, senior counsel at the Environmental Working Group. “These massive handouts flow to oil companies like BP and only cement our dependence on environmentally damaging sources of energy … the other issue here, with BP, is that Congress has created this $5 billion-a-year energy program and taxpayers have little idea who’s getting the money.”
Ethanol backers say the BP argument is a straw man. “I don’t think that has any legs,” said House Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson. He said the credit keeps ethanol competitive with oil until it can be marketed on a level playing field, including special blenders’ pumps at gas stations and boosting the limit on how much ethanol can be blended with gasoline.
Read full post at Congress Daily