WASHINGTON – Earlier today the Senate passed a tax-policy package that includes a one-year extension of the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC) at its current level of $0.45 per gallon, according to the National Turkey Federation. Organizations representing the food industry, animal agriculture, environmental groups, and budget watchdogs didn’t have much good to say on this move.

Members of the coalition include ActionAid USA, Americans for Limited Government, American Meat Institute, Environmental Working Group, Friends of the Earth, Milk Producers Council, National Chicken Council, National Meat Association, National Resources Defense Council, National Taxpayers Union, National Turkey Federation and Taxpayers for Common Sense.

“While it is disappointing that Congress appears set to renew the ethanol tax credit and import tariff for one year at their current rates, the debate clearly shows there are growing doubts on Capitol Hill about the wisdom of spending billions of taxpayers’ dollars to support an industry that is now more than 30 years old,” said Joel Brandenberger, president, National Turkey Federation. “The fact that Congress renewed the credit for only one year means legislators intend to revisit this issue soon, and we are confident that 2011 will be the year when the credit and tariff are eliminated or significantly reduced.”

“For 30 years, the American taxpayer has been subsidizing corn-based ethanol and unfortunately the Senate has failed to break that dependency relationship once again, even as this country teeters on the brink of a budgetary abyss,” charged J. Patrick Boyle, president and CEO, American Meat Institute. “For yet another year, $6 billion US taxpayer dollars will be diverted from hardworking families to the pocketbooks of the ethanol industry for production that is mandated by the federal government despite the fact that the American people are crying out for fiscal responsibility. Corn-based ethanol is not a long-term, sustainable solution to end our dependence on foreign oil. What it is, however, is grossly irresponsible fiscal, food and energy policy.”

“The vote is a triumph of politics over common sense and fiscal responsibility,” scoffed George Watts, president, National Chicken Council. “The taxpayers will spend billions of dollars on a totally unnecessary subsidy to a mature industry. We continue to hope that the Congress will derail the ethanol gravy train.”

“Today's action by the Senate to extend the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit further undermines US food security to pad the pockets of oil companies, which are already required to blend ethanol into their products by the Renewable Fuel Standard,” said Barry Carpenter, CEO, National Meat Association. “There is no benefit to extending this law, it's purely a waste of taxpayer dollars.”