First hint: 54-cent-a-gallon ethanol tariff may shrink under 2009 budget

The Bush Administration will release its 2009 budget to Congress Monday and one of the expected changes will be to the ethanol tariff, currently set at 54 cents for each imported gallon. The groundwork for this change was set by Energy Secretary Sam Bodman. According to Domestic Fuel, Bodman said, "I would just say I think that there are advantages to having had the kind of both subsidies and tariffs that have helped protect this industry. I believe that, the best I can tell, this industry is pretty close to being able to stand on its own."
Not everyone is in favor of that kind of change. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said that:

By lifting the ethanol tariff, we'd end up subsidizing Brazilian ethanol. I can't figure out why Secretary Bodman would want the United States to risk becoming dependent on Brazilian ethanol when we're already dependent on Middle East oil. His comments really do a disservice to President Bush who has been the most pro-ethanol president we've ever had. In addition, the United States already provides duty-free treatment for Brazilian ethanol that is merely dehydrated in the Caribbean Basin Initiative countries. Brazil has yet to make full use of this program. I don't see why we should bend over backwards to provide yet more duty-free treatment for Brazil's ethanol producers.

We'll know more tomorrow, but this could be decent-sized news.

[Source: Domestic Fuel, Senator Chuck Grassley]

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