We are facing huge long-term problems: a real unemployment rate of 18%, dysfunctional banks that are "too big to fail", a regressive tax structure that's stifling economic growth, prisons that are bursting at the seams, urban schools that are struggling, a health care system that still needs major reform, the lack of a coherent national energy policy that will protect our economy and the environment, and a government that has been encroaching on our civil liberties. For decades we have lived with irresponsible public policies from career politicians in Congress who care more about increasing their party’s power and getting re-elected than they care about solving long-term problems. They haven’t been honest with us, and they have been lousy public servants.

I’m different. I do not want to be a career politician. I am not a Democrat or a Republican. I’m a Problem Solver. I want to force members of Congress to be responsible, and implement sustainable solutions to real problems. Please read the positions I present on this website, and spread the word to friends and family.

Please email me at John@Mertens2010.com, and become a supporter on Twitter at @mertens4senate or Facebook: John's FB

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Dr. John Mertens Proposes Major Change to $80 Billion Ethanol Law

U.S. Senate Candidate Dr. John Mertens has proposed major changes to the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. The proposal includes a freeze of the federal mandate of corn-based ethanol production, a gradual elimination of the federal corn-ethanol subsidy over a five year period, and an elimination of the ethanol import tariff. The proposal will reduce federal deficits by almost $70 billion, significantly reduce demands on the water resources of the United States, prevent increases in food prices, and prevent a significant increase in environmental degradation of American farmlands and waterways. It will also maintain incentives to develop cellulosic-based ethanol production.

1. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 essentially mandates that corn-based ethanol production in the U.S. be increased to 15 billion gallons per year by 2022 (up from 9 billion gallons in 2009). This proposal freezes the federal mandate at 10 billion gallons per year.

2. The federal government currently provides 45 cents per gallon tax subsidy for ethanol. This proposal reduces the subsidy for corn-based ethanol to 35 cents per gallon at the end of 2010, 25 cents per gallon at the end of 2011, 15 cents per gallon at the end of 2012, and eliminates the subsidy at the end of 2013. The reduction in tax subsidy does not apply to non-cornstarch derived fuels (i.e. cellulosic ethanol). This will reduce federal deficits by almost $70 billion over the next 13 years.

3. The federal government currently maintains a 54 cent per gallon import tariff on ethanol. You can read here why eliminating this tariff would be good for American consumers, the environment, and our energy security:

4. A recent article by Robert F. Service in the October 23, 2009 issue of Science magazine entitled “Another Drawback for Biofuels: Irrigation” shows that ethanol from corn uses 1,000 to 10,000 times as much water per unit of energy than more traditional energy sources. It also illustrates that the land usage required to produce billions of gallons of ethanol is causing significant environmental damage to waterways, the Gulf coast, and farmlands. In addition, using food to make fuel drives up the price of food for consumers. (These points are also detailed in the book “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan.)

It’s time to slow down the use of taxpayers’ dollars to fund an environmentally and fiscally unwise policy.

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John Mertens for U.S. Senate
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