USDA chief discusses renewable energy in Minn.by Tom Scheck, Minnesota Public Radio
Inver Grove Heights, Minn. — U.S. Secretary Tom Vilsack says Congress should not end subsidies for the ethanol industry but should look at ways to change who gets them in the future.
Vilsack was in Inver Grove Heights Wednesday visiting CHS Inc., one of the largest marketers of high-ethanol fuel, E85. Vilsack warned that ending federal ethanol subsidies for corn-based ethanol will result in job losses and make the U.S. more dependent on foreign oil.
"Now is not the time to create a cliff for these incentives. Now is not the time to end these incentives," Vilsack said. "It may very well be the time for us to reevaluate how they are best used but if we were to end them we saw what happened with biodiesel."
Vilsack said that when the credit was not extended, 50 percent of the production capacity ended almost immediately and 12,000 jobs were lost.
Vilsack made the comments before he held a private round-table discussion on agriculture issues.
Some in Congress have called for ending the main federal subsidy for corn-based ethanol, which expires at the end of the year.