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Senators Introduce Bill to End Ethanol Subsidies, Import Tariff

U.S. senators introduced a bill to repeal a $6-billion-a-year tax break that helps the corn ethanol industry.

Senators Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, and Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican, said the 45-cent credit, which is given to oil refiners for each gallon of ethanol they blend with gasoline, was unjustified given the U.S. deficit.

The break is set to expire this year. Repealing it by July 1 would save about $3 billion, the senators said. The legislation also would repeal a 54-cent tariff on ethanol imports.

“It’s time we end subsidies that we cannot afford and tariffs that increase gas prices,” Feinstein said in a statement.

Matt Hartwig, a spokesman for the Renewable Fuels Association, a trade group for ethanol producers in Washington, said in an e-mail that the bill would increase gas prices and oil imports.

Democratic Senators Ben Cardin of Maryland and James Webb of Virginia and Republicans Richard Burr of North Carolina, Susan Collins of Maine and James Risch of Idaho also support the bill, according to the statement from Feinstein.

Coburn has also introduced the bill as an amendment to small-business legislation the Senate is now debating, according to John Hart, a spokesman for Coburn.

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