We are writing to make you aware that we do not support an extension of either the 54 cent-per-gallon tariff on ethanol imports or the 45 cent-per-gallon subsidy for blending ethanol into gasoline. These provisions are fiscally irresponsible and environmentally unwise, and their extension would make our country more dependent on foreign oil.
Subsidizing blending ethanol into gasoline is fiscally indefensible. If the current subsidy is extended for five years, the Federal Treasury would pay oil companies at least $31 billion to use 69 billion gallons of corn ethanol that the Federal Renewable Fuels Standard already requires them to use. We cannot afford to pay industry for following the law....
Eliminating or reducing ethanol subsidies and trade barriers are important steps we can take to reduce the budget deficit, improve the environment, and lessen our reliance on foreign oil. We look forward to working with you on responsible energy tax policy.
So where did this come from? American Enterprise Institute? Cato? Heritage Foundation? The newly-minted tea party caucus in Congress? Wrong on all four counts.
This was part of a letter to Senate leaders from a bipartisan group of 12 senators and which was co-authored by Diane Feinstein and John Kyl.
We're almost speechless. There has to be a catch, though, right? The term "bipartisan" normally scares the crap out of us. They have to be angling towards something, right?
Can an energy policy be so horrifically bad, so wrongheaded and dreadful that it could inspire a letter this forceful from two people generally at the opposite ends of the political spectrum? And can it be pulled off without malice or forethought? Putting the cynic inside us aside, yes, dear friends... yes it can.
There is obviously a long way to go with political considerations for senators from regionally-affected states and the no-small-matter of the Iowa caucuses in a little over a year but its a great first step. With that in mind, let us rejoice in the opening salvo in the battle to defeat the worst energy policy idea of all time.