Senate ethanol battle heats up with dueling bills

“When crude oil is more than $90 a barrel, there will be no blenders’ credit. When crude oil is $50 and below, the blenders’ credit will be 30 cents. The rate will vary when the price of crude is between $50 and $90 a barrel,” according to Grassley’s office.

The bill would also extend through 2016 tax credits for installing ethanol infrastructure at gas stations, but modify them somewhat.

Credits for cellulosic ethanol producers and the depreciation allowance for cellulosic biofuel plant property would also remain through 2016, while the import tariff would continue at reduced levels.

“Affordable energy is a major concern for Americans, and Congress needs to keep energy security on the front burner. Now more than ever, it’s time to ramp up production of traditional energy sources here at home and to expand alternative fuels and renewable energy sources,” Grassley said in a statement on the bill, which also drew praise from ethanol industry trade groups.

The other sponsors are Sens. Tom HarkinTom HarkinDistance education: Tumultuous today and yesterday Grassley challenger no stranger to defying odds Clinton ally stands between Sanders and chairmanship dream MORE (D-Iowa), Mike JohannsMike JohannsLobbying World To buy a Swiss company, ChemChina must pass through Washington Republican senator vows to block nominees over ObamaCare co-ops MORE (R-Neb.), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharGoing national with automatic voter registration Wildfires won't stop at the edge of public land — sustainability policy shouldn't either Klobuchar defends Senate Democrats on Trump nominations MORE (D-Minn.), Al FrankenAl FrankenDrug pricing order would cut regulations Dems push for more action on power grid cybersecurity Congress poised to prohibit airlines from forcibly removing customers MORE (D-Minn.), Tim JohnsonTim JohnsonCourt ruling could be game changer for Dems in Nevada Bank lobbyists counting down to Shelby’s exit Former GOP senator endorses Clinton after Orlando shooting MORE (D-S.D.) and Ben Nelson (D-Neb.).

The bill comes a day after ethanol opponents Sens. Dianne FeinsteinDianne FeinsteinDem senators urged Obama to take action on Russia before election Senate panel questions Lynch on alleged FBI interference The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (D-Calif.) and Tom CoburnTom Coburn'Path of least resistance' problematic for Congress Freedom Caucus saved Paul Ryan's job: GOP has promises to keep Don't be fooled: Carper and Norton don't fight for DC MORE (R-Okla.) united around a bill to end the blenders’ credit and the import tariff. They had previously offered competing plans. Co-sponsors include Sens. Ben CardinBen CardinDem senators urged Obama to take action on Russia before election Overnight Cybersecurity: Trump tweetstorm on Russia probe | White House reportedly pushing to weaken sanctions bill | Podesta to testify before House Intel Senate expected to pass Russia sanctions bill for a second time MORE (D-Md.) and Richard BurrRichard BurrSenate intel panel to hold hearing on Russian meddling in Europe Overnight Tech: Uber CEO resigns | Trump's Iowa tech trip | Dems push Sessions to block AT&T-Time Warner deal | Lawmakers warned on threat to election systems | Overnight Cybersecurity: Obama DHS chief defends Russian hack response | Trump huddles on grid security | Lawmakers warned about cyber threat to election systems MORE (R-N.C.).

Feinstein argues the ethanol industry is awash in billions of dollars in unnecessary subsidies.

“Ethanol subsidies and tariffs sap our budget, they’re bad for the environment, and they increase our dependence on foreign oil. It’s time we end subsidies that we cannot afford and tariffs that increase gas prices,” she said in a statement Tuesday.

Feinstein’s office argues the blenders’ credit is unneeded given the national renewable fuels mandate ensures a market, and that the tariff increases reliance on oil imports by raising the price of imported ethanol.