What Ethanol Does Not Need Now Is Perception of Division

As Growth Energy rolls out a new strategy for moving ethanol industry forward, other groups are not on the podium, but are they opposed?

It is looking like the U.S. Senate will actually start talking about an energy bill within the next few days.

Whether something actually passes or we just move into another round of nothing remains to be seen. But today, Growth Energy, a group of ethanol supporters, rolled out their idea for moving toward a subsidy-free industry and a foreign-oil independent United States within the next 5 to 10 years.

Noticeably absent from the podium was the Renewal Fuels Association, the American Coalition for Ethanol and other industry groups who immediately issued a joint press release saying they support a continuation of the status quo with an extension -- for five years they hope -- of the current program of tax incentives.

But later in the day, Matt Hartwig with RFA said there is not an irreparable rift in the industry and there is a still a good chance that ethanol supporters will be united in their effort to push for support for the industry in the energy bill.

Hartwig said the RFA's concern is about timing and getting an extension of tax incentives before the current legislation expires at the end of the year.

He said RFA is not necessarily opposed to Growth Energy's ideas, just to trying to revamp the tax structure as the clock ticks down on ethanol tax credits.

Out here in the real world, the best that farmers and ethanol investors can hope is that the appearance of a divided industry doesn't give lawmakers the idea that the industry is confused.

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