Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ethanol Industry Lines Up for Washington Help

Federal subsidies. Mandated usage. State subsidies. Protective tariffs. Not enough.
From the WSJ's Washington Wire:

First, it was Wall Street. Then Detroit auto makers. Now, the nation’s ethanol producers, who have hit a rough patch with the drop in ethanol prices, are seeking help from Washington.

The Renewable Fuels Association, a trade group for the U.S. ethanol industry, has spoken with staff members from Capitol Hill and President-elect Barack Obama’s team and “provided them with some ideas on how to craft the language of” an economic recovery package, said Matt Hartwig, a spokesman for the RFA.

Hartwig said RFA has suggested a number of steps including setting up a $1 billion short-term credit facility so ethanol producers could finance current operations; a $50 billion federal loan guarantee program to finance investment in new renewable fuel production capacity and supporting infrastructure; and a requirement that any auto maker receiving federal aid only produce new vehicles that can run on any blend up to 85% ethanol, beginning with the 2010 model season....MORE