Presidential Candidates & Ethanol


(Thanks to Ken Bossong for letting ET post this.Remy C. Ed.)

From: SUN DAY Campaign kbossong@cais.com
To: "'Ken Bossong' kbossong@cais.
Subject:MEDIA BACKGROUNDER #2: Presidential Candidates & Ethanol
Date: Thu, 18 Nov 1999 05:28:17 -0500

To: Energy & Environmental Organizations and Businesses

Below please find the second "media backgrounder" issued by he Sustainable
Energy Coalition summarizing the presidential candidates' views on energy
policy issues. This backgrounder discusses federal tax incentives for ethanol.

We anticipate issuing a third backgrounder on or about December 1 on CAFE
and transportation issues followed by a backgrounder on tax and budget
support for renewable energy and energy efficiency programs on or about
December 8. Thereafter, we will be issuing backgrounders on fossil fuels and
clean air, nuclear power and nuclear waste, and electric utility restructuring.

We would welcome your assistance in broadly distributing this backgrounder.
In particular, please consider:

1.) sending a copy to reporters at your local print and broadcast media
2.) including an article in your organization's newsletter
3.) posting the information on your web page
4.) forwarding the backgrounder to your e-mail lists

Thank you.

Ken Bossong

----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUSTAINABLE ENERGY COALITION
315 Circle Avenue, #2; Takoma Park, MD 20912-4836
301-270-2258; fax: 301-891-2866;

kbossong@cais.com

ENERGY POLICY & CAMPAIGN 2000
MEDIA BACKGROUNDER #2
Second in a Series of Analyses
of the Presidential Candidates' Views on Sustainable Energy *

SURVEY FINDS PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES' VIEWS VARY WIDELY ON FEDERAL TAX
INCENTIVES FOR ETHANOL

For Release: Thursday, November 18, 1999
9:00 a.m. (eastern time)

Contact:
Ken Bossong (SUN DAY Campaign) 301-270-2258
Mary Giglio (Renewable Fuels Association) 202-289-3835
Megan Smith (American Biofuels Association) 703-780-6635
Henry Griggs (Communications Consortium) 202-326-8714

Washington DC -- The Sustainable Energy Coalition today released a side-
by-side comparison of the major presidential candidates' views on federal tax
incentives and other support for the production of ethanol. For the most part,
the candidates' views are expressed in their own words as provided in their
campaign materials, media and other public statements, and preliminary
responses to a survey sponsored by the members of the Sustainable Energy
Coalition and 150 other organizations nationwide.

Today, more than 1.5 billion gallons of ethanol are produced annually from
corn, other grains, and food and beverage wastes. In addition, ethanol --
which is blended into about 12% of the gasoline used to power the nation's
automobiles -- will soon be converted from cellulosic biomass feedstock,
including agriculture and forest residues, as well as the non-recyclable paper
component of municipal solid waste. Approximately one-quarter of the
annual production of ethanol now comes from Iowa -- home of the first
presidential caucuses next year.

Democratic Candidates

Among the Democrats, Vice President Al Gore maintains that "it's well
known that I've always supported ethanol. I have a consistent record of
shoring up the farm safety net." Gore, who as vice president cast a tie-
breaking vote in 1994 against a proposal Senator Bill Bradley sponsored to cut
tax incentives for ethanol fuel, goes on to tweak his primary opponent by
adding that "I have not ducked when votes for ... agricultural interests were on
the floor."

Bradley, however, has responded that he has altered his views on ethanol.
"When I was in the Senate, I represented my state [and had] very specific
New Jersey-based reasons" for opposing federal tax breaks for ethanol.
Now, though, he believes "for farmers in the Midwest, ethanol makes sense"
and has vowed "no raids on ethanol" in his administration because "ethanol is
an important part of the reformulated gasoline program in the country and it
will remain so."

Republican Candidates

Among the Republicans, Texas Governor George W. Bush says that he
"supports tax incentives for use of ethanol [because] not only is it good for
the farmer, it is good for the quality of air all across America." Similarly, Reagan
Administration official Gary Bauer notes that "we need to continue the
ethanol subsidy, which has brought additional marketing options to American
corn growers." And Senator Orrin Hatch agrees that "we have to develop as
many alternative sources of gasoline as we possibly can; some day it might
come down to where we're going to need this ethanol development to save
our country so I think it's very wise to continue to support it."

On the other hand, Senator John McCain has derided ethanol tax incentives
as "simply an outdated subsidy for corn producers [and] an example of the
influence of special interests in Washington." He adds that "ethanol is good
for neither the environment nor the consumer" and that the subsidy should be
eliminated to help pay for a school voucher program he has proposed to offer
educational opportunities for disadvantaged children.

Publisher Steve Forbes and Ambassador Alan Keyes have offered no
definitive positions to date on the ethanol issue although both have advocated
a simplified tax system and the elimination of most special interest tax breaks,
which would presumably include tax incentives for ethanol production.

Third Party Candidates

Among third party candidates, the Reform Party's Pat Buchanan has stated
his "support [for] ethanol production as integral to a policy of national energy
independence" and cited an Iowa ethanol production facility he recently
visited as "an example of American efficiency." By contrast, Natural Law
Party candidate John Hagelin says he opposes continuation of the federal tax
incentives for ethanol; however, he "would support research on biofuels as a
transition technology but would prefer to support fuels and technologies
without carbon emissions and other forms of pollution."

Public Opinion

A public opinion survey of 1,000+ registered voters conducted in September
1998 for the Sustainable Energy Coalition by Research/Strategy/Management
of Rockville, Maryland found that 80% of respondents strongly, or at least
somewhat, favor "increasing the use of renewable transportation fuels such
as ethanol." An similar survey conducted in November 1996 by the same
polling firm for the Renewable Fuels Association found that 83% of voters
favored "redirecting tax breaks [from fossil fuels] to renewable fuels to
reduce dependency on foreign oil" while 72% said they favor "continuing the
federal tax exemption for ethanol-blended gasoline."

# # #

* This media backgrounder is the second in a series on energy policy issues
that will be released over the next three months. The first, released October
27, detailed the candidates' views on climate change and the Kyoto Protocol;
the 10-page paper can be faxed or e-mailed upon request.

A more detailed, 4-page overview of the candidates' views on federal tax
incentives to support ethanol production along with the questions and
responses to the public opinion surveys on ethanol conducted by
Research/Strategy/Management can be faxed or e-mailed upon request.

Future backgrounders will include responses provided to a survey on these
issues sent to all the Democratic and Republican as well as major third party
candidates by the Coalition and signed by 185 organizations and businesses
from 35 states. A copy of the survey and list of signers is available upon
request.

The Sustainable Energy Coalition is a coalition of 34 national business,
environmental, consumer, and energy policy organizations founded in 1992 to
promote increased use of energy-efficient and renewable energy
technologies. Preparation of this backgrounder was done as part of the
Coalition's contribution to planning for Earth Day 2000.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

SUSTAINABLE ENERGY COALITION
315 Circle Avenue, #2; Takoma Park, MD 20912-4836
301-270-2258; fax: 301-891-2866;

kbossong@cais.com

PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES: ETHANOL TAX INCENTIVES

Responses and Position Statements

Q.) Do you support continuation of the federal tax incentives for ethanol?

BAUER: "I support aggressive research that would further expand the many
innovative uses for agricultural commodities. We need to continue the ethanol
subsidy, which has brought additional marketing options to American corn
growers." (source: Bauer for President 2000 web page - printed 9/20/99)

BRADLEY: "When I was in the Senate, I represented my state, [and was
against ethanol in gasoline because it] was not good for New Jersey. NJ
taxpayers would pay higher prices for their gasoline, and would've have
difficulty meeting our clean air standards. But now I'm running for president,
I have to see the whole country. The ethanol stream of revenue is one of the
things that keeps Iowa farmers afloat. The farm crisis isn't in New Jersey,
it's in the Midwest." (source: NBC's "Meet the Press" - cited by
<issues2000.org>)

"For farmers in the Midwest, ethanol makes sense." For years Bradley was
the leading enemy of ethanol in the Senate. But after communing with Iowa
farmers, he declared a newfound love of the stuff. Ethanol was bad for New
Jersey but now he has a broader view. (source: as quoted in article by
Howard Fineman, "Newsweek")

Bradley said he had "very specific, New Jersey-based reasons" for voting
"no" on successful efforts to give ethanol a federal tax break. "In New
Jersey, if ethanol was required, it would mean higher prices for New Jersey
drivers. It would also mean that we couldn't use what would be the cheapest
additive in reformulated gasoline, which would be methanol. [Now] I'm not
simply representing one state but the country as a whole in all the
complexities of the country; and I think that ethanol is an important part of
the reformulated gasoline program in the country and it will remain so." (source:
Reuters, July 6, 1999)

Bradley has vowed "no raids on ethanol" in his administration.
(source: www.IowaPulse.com August 9, 1999) "[It is] outrageous to consider a [tax] exemption for ethanol when its subsidy
is already greater than the total selling price of other fuels." (source:
columnist George F. Will quoting Bradley in the "Washington Post," September 9,
1999)

Bradley says as a presidential candidate, he takes a wider view of issues and
now supports ethanol. (source: "Des Moines Register", November 2, 1999)

BUCHANAN: "This is an example of American efficiency." Buchanan said
he hoped his visit to the new Sunrise Energy Cooperative ethanol plant, one of
four plants in Iowa, would highlight the importance of the corn-fuel additive.
(source: "Cedar Rapids Gazette," August 11, 1999)

"[I] support ethanol production as integral to a policy of national energy
independence." (source: Pat Buchanan presidential campaign web page; printed
9-20-99)

BUSH: "[Ethanol is] good for the air quality of America." (source:
"Washington Post" editorial, July 16, 1999

"I like the environmental benefits [of ethanol]." (source: "Viewpoint" by Toby
Eckert, Copley News; August 17, 1999)

"Not only is it good for the farmer, it is good for the quality of air all
across
America." (source: Associated Press (Mike Glover), September 1, 1999)

"Supports tax incentives for use of ethanol." (source: Bush presidential
campaign web page as printed on 9/20/99)

Bush said the U.S. government could do more to promote research on and
adoption of new products, including soy diesel and ethanol. The federal
government should continue to support ethanol and fund more research on
biomass use. (source: summary of interview with George Bush by "Iowa
Farmer Today," October 14, 1999)

FORBES: Steve Forbes has shown the character to denounce this species of
corporate welfare. (source: editorial comment by the "Washington Post," July 16,
1999)

"Emergency economic government assistance for America's farmers is
needed due to the severity of the federal government's mistakes, but
government aid is not the long-term solution." (source: Forbes statement
delivered in Cedar Rapids, IA, August 9, 1999)

Forbes campaign spokesperson Joel Rosenberg notes that Forbes is "against
special interest tax credits, loopholes in general. ... I don't think [ethanol's
impact on the caucuses] is that big; the farm crisis is the big issue." (source:
"Viewpoint" by Toby Eckert, Copley News; August 17, 1999)

GORE: "[The federal ethanol program] has been a real success; it means
thousands of jobs and billions in economics activity in this country." (source:
quoted in "Ethanol Report," June 1999)

"Our administration's goal is to triple the use of biomass technologies,
ethanol, gasoline additives, plant-based textiles and other environmentally friendly
products by 2010. This is just one of the exciting ways our efforts to protect
the environment will begin to help America's ailing farming economy."
(source: August 20, 1999)

www.algore2000.com
"I think it's well known that I've always supported ethanol. This is not
something that I'm doing on the eve of the Iowa caucuses. I have a
consistent record of shoring up the farm safety net." (source: Reuters, October
9, 1999)

"I have not ducked when votes for ... agricultural interests were on the floor,"
said Gore, who as vice president cast a tie-breaking vote in 1994 against a
proposal Senator Bill Bradley sponsored to cut subsidies for corn-based
ethanol fuel. (source: "Des Moines Register," November 2, 1999)

HAGELIN: "No. [However,] I would support research on biofuels as a
transition technology, but would prefer to support fuels and technologies
without carbon emissions and other forms of pollution." (source: October 20,
1999 response to Sustainable Energy Coalition's presidential candidates' survey)

HATCH: "We need to use these agricultural products in every way we can.
Some day it might come down to where we're going to need this ethanol
development to save our country. So I think it's very wise to continue to
support it. I realize that we have to develop as many alternative sources of
gasoline as we possibly can. This country runs on energy, and we have to
always have to be at the forefront of developing good energy, whether it be
natural resources or resources we develop through research and
development." (source: DeseretNews, September 19, 1999)

KEYES: no stated position

MCCAIN: McCain proposed a school voucher program to offer education
opportunities for disadvantaged children. He suggested paying for it by
eliminating $5.4 billion worth of subsidies for ethanol, sugar, gas, and oil.
"We shouldn't have special interest giveaways at the expense of our neediest
children," McCain said, adding that the ethanol program was "simply an
outdated subsidy for corn producers." (source: Associated Press (Mike Glover),
July 28, 1999)

"These subsidies are an example of the influence of special interest in
Washington. ... I had the position I take on [ethanol] 17 years ago. I'm
convinced many people in Iowa believe as I do that ethanol is good for neither
the environment nor the consumer." (source: Associated Press (Holly Ramer),
October 27, 1999)

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Public Opinion on Ethanol Tax Incentives:

In September 1998, the Sustainable Energy Coalition commissioned a public
opinion survey of 1,000+ registered voters that was conducted by
Research/Strategy/Management of Rockville, Maryland. Among the
questions posed and responses received was the following:

1.) Various ideas have been offered for reducing our dependency on foreign
oil. Please tell me if you strongly favor, somewhat favor, somewhat oppose,
or strongly oppose increasing the use of renewable transportation fuels such as
ethanol.

Strongly Favor 37%
Somewhat Favor 43%
Somewhat Oppose 10%
Strongly Oppose 5%
Don't Know/Refused 5%

In November 1996, the Renewable Fuels Association, a member group of the
Coalition, commissioned a public opinion survey of 1,000+ registered voters
that was also conducted by Research/Strategy/Management. Among the
questions posed and responses received then were:

1.) Today, the United States imports more than half of its oil from foreign
countries. Experts predict that our dependency on foreign oil will increase
over the next ten years. A recent consumer-group study found that current
federal tax policies actually encourage this dependency on foreign oil. Some
people believe that we should continue to give tax breaks or subsidies to oil
companies as a way to ensure a steady supply of oil, even if we are
dependent on foreign countries for this oil. Other people believe that we
should reduce our reliance on foreign oil by redirecting these tax breaks and
subsidies to encourage the increased production and use of domestically
produced renewable fuels from grains and other biological sources called
biomass. Which opinion is closer to yours: that we should continue to give tax
breaks that encourage dependency on foreign oil to ensure a steady supply, or
that we should redirect tax breaks to encourage the use of domestically
produced renewable fuels that would reduce our dependency on foreign oil?

Continue Current Tax Breaks to Ensure Steady Supply of Oil 10%
Redirect Tax Breaks to Renewable Fuels to Reduce
Dependency on Foreign 82%
Neither; No Tax Breaks Should be Given At All 4%
Don't Know/Refused 4%

2.) One way the federal government has tried to develop a domestic
renewable fuel industry is by granting a 5.4 cent per gallon tax exemption for
ethanol-blended gasoline. Ethanol is a clean burning, renewable fuel produced
from grain and other biomass and is used to reduce harmful automobile
emissions. The oil industry has tried to have this exemption removed because
they say the tax advantage is unfair and makes ethanol-blended gasoline
cheaper than gasoline not blended with ethanol. Do you support or oppose
continuing the federal tax exemption for ethanol-blended gasoline?

Strongly Support 38%
Somewhat Support 34%
Somewhat Oppose 11%
Strongly Oppose 9%
Don't Know/Refused 8%

## END ##