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 HarkinGrassley challenger no stranger to defying odds Clinton ally stands between Sanders and chairmanship dream Do candidates care about our health or just how much it costs? 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 KlobucharFCC: Over 12,000 callers couldn’t reach 911 during AT&T outage Live coverage: Day three of Supreme Court nominee hearing Dems land few punches on Gorsuch MORE (D-Minn.), Al FrankenAl FrankenFriends, foes spar in fight on Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Lawmakers share photos of their dogs in honor of National Puppy Day Franken challenges witness endorsement of Gorsuch 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 FeinsteinDems get it wrong: 'Originalism' is mainstream, even for liberal judges Human rights leaders warn against confirming Gorsuch Feinstein sees slipping support among California voters: poll MORE (D-Calif.) and Tom CoburnTom CoburnDon't be fooled: Carper and Norton don't fight for DC Coburn: Trump's tweets aren't presidential The road ahead for America’s highways 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 CardinMaking water infrastructure a priority Senators introduce new Iran sanctions Senate confirms Trump's pick for Israel ambassador MORE (D-Md.) and Richard BurrRichard BurrDevin Nunes has jeopardized the oversight role of Congress Schumer: Trump must apologize for wiretapping claim Senate panel asks Trump ally Roger Stone to preserve Russia-related records 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.