A group of 18 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, including the chairmen of the House Judiciary and Rules committee, sent a letter this week to the leaders of the Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA and Related Programs, requesting language to limit continued government support for corn ethanol.

In a letter to Robert Aderholt (R-AL), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA, and Related Programs and Sam Farr (D-CA), Ranking Member of that committee, the 18 Members of Congress requested, as the subcommittee begins work on the fiscal year 2016 appropriations bill, the inclusion of language to block U.S. Department of Agriculture grants for installation of blender pumps that sell gasoline with a higher ethanol content than the traditional 10 percent.

“The federal government’s creation of an artificial market for the ethanol industry is negatively impacting American consumers, livestock farms, food producers, retailers, air and water quality, and the ability to feed our nation’s hungry,” the letter said.  “It is expected that this year over 40 percent of the U.S. corn crop will be used for ethanol production.  As food and feed stocks are increasingly diverted into fuel, we will continue to see negative impacts on all Americans, particular those who work and live in rural America.”

Specially, the letter asked that no funds be made available to construct, fund, install, or operate ethanol blender pumps and no funds be made available to promote the export of ethanol from the United States.

Signers of the letter include:

  • Doug Collins (R-GA)
  • Brian Babin (R-TX)
  • Jim Costa (D-CA)
  • Peter DeFazio (D-OR)
  • Ron DeSantis (R-FL)
  • Jeff Duncan (R-SC)
  • Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)
  • Tom McClintock (R-CA)
  • T0m Rice (R-SC)
  • Keith Rothus (R-PA)
  • F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-WI)
  • Randy Weber (R-TX)
  • Peter Welch (D-VT)

Meanwhile, in early fall 2014, Agriculture Secretary Vilsack announced that market access program (MAP) funds could be used for ethanol exports.  The U.S. Grains Council has now added ethanol on its products list officially. Late in 2014, RFA and Growth Energy traveled to Japan and Korea, and then to Peru and Panama, and to Singapore and the Philippines in three different trade missions.  The missions were a four-way partnership between USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, RFA, Growth Energy, and the U.S. Grains Council, which received cooperator funds from USDA.  As of late January, a steering committee of the four groups was formed to study the results of the missions and to decide on a strategy forward for promoting ethanol.