Critics, including big oil companies, say the ethanol industry shouldn't get federal support, like the Renewable Fuel Standard through which transportation fuel must be blended with renewable fuel. It should have to stand on its own two feet, they say.
OK, fine, but the federal government then should end all forms of support, like tax writeoffs, for all energy producers, including the oil industry.
Seems fair, right?
Since the percentage-depletion allowance was created in 1913, the oil industry has enjoyed a wealth of tax breaks. Today, those tax writeoffs amount to billions of dollars each year. This at a time of record profits for the five largest oil companies.
Other producers of energy, including the wind and solar industries, receive federal subsidies, as well.
We tire of reading and hearing criticisms of federal support for ethanol from naysayers who at the same time appear perfectly content with federal tax benefits for Big Oil.
In our view, it's neither fair nor reasonable to suggest ending federal support for one energy-related industry, like ethanol, but favor keeping tax advantages extended to another, like oil.
In all honesty, we do not wish to see federal support for ethanol or wind end because these industries are important to the economy of our state. In the name of achieving energy independence for the nation, we in principle are comfortable with the idea of federal support for energy - all of energy.
Still, if Congress wants to end federal support for energy producers within the context of reducing the federal budget and reforming the tax code, fine.
Our point is it should do so with integrity and consistency and not by allowing influential oil interests possessed of power through lobbying and campaign contributions to dictate the rules of the game.
What we don't wish to see is cherrypicking of who gets money and who doesn't.
One way or the other, treat everyone the same.