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World Biofuels Symposium
November 13-15, 2005
Beijing, China

2nd Annual Canadian Renewable Fuels Summit
December 13-15, 2005
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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February 5-8, 200
San Diego, California
National Biodiesel Board

11th Annual National Ethanol Conference: "Policy & Marketing"
February 20-22, 200
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
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22nd Annual International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo
June 20-23, 200
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

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Posted on  

October 24, 2003

Top Republicans may decide US ethanol tax dispute

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - With tax writers stymied, Republican leaders of the House and Senate may decide the ethanol tax dispute that is the final hurdle for the first overhaul of U.S. energy policy in a decade, lobbyists said Thursday.

The bill, a melding of separate House and Senate plans, was expected to offer $16 billion in incentives to build new power plants, develop alternative energy sources, double ethanol's share of the fuel market and modernize the U.S. power grid.

It picked up momentum after the August power blackout left 50 million people in the dark in Canada and the United States.

House negotiators insisted on handling ethanol tax credits in a transportation bill next year. Senate tax writers, led by Iowa Republican Charles Grassley, were equally determined to see the matter in the energy bill, which also would double ethanol's share of the U.S. fuel market.

"I think they've agreed to disagree (on ethanol credits). It has to go to another level," one energy industry lobbyist said, referring to the top Republicans in Congress, House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist.

Ethanol advocates hope President Bush, due back on Friday from Australia, will take a role. They believe Bush, who supports ethanol, would side with Grassley. Thirty senators have signed a letter supporting Grassley on ethanol language.

A decision is needed by Friday, according to congressional staff workers, if they are to make public the text of the energy bill on Sunday. That would be the prelude to a formal meeting of all 58 House and Senate negotiators on Tuesday to clear the bill for a floor vote.

"They (committee leaders) are trying to get a document and then they can go and shop for votes," said one pro-ethanol lobbyist.

Some environmentalists fear a final effort will be made to include language allowing oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. The proposal is commonly thought dead, partly because Democratic senators say they would filibuster any bill approving the idea.

A sizable number of senators have threatened a filibuster as well if the energy bill shelters the gasoline additive MTBE from defective-product lawsuits.

In defense of the ethanol credits, Grassley has argued the energy bill would be imperiled if it were weak on ethanol and overly generous to MTBE.

The ethanol credit plan would make two changes -- it would encourage refiners to use richer ethanol blends in fuels and it would put money into the highway trust fund to make up for revenue lost to the tax break now given ethanol. Fuel with a 10 percent blend of ethanol now is exempt from 5.2 cents of the 18.4 cent-a-gallon federal fuel tax.


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