Politics & Policy

Romney’s Ethanol Position: Evolving?

In a May visit to Iowa, Mitt Romney told a voter, “I support the subsidy of ethanol. I believe ethanol is an important part of our energy solution for this country,” according to the Wall Street Journal. He made the comments around the time Tim Pawlenty’s campaign was touting Pawlenty’s willingness to say he’d eliminate ethanol subsidies in Iowa.

But in remarks Romney made in Iowa yesterday, he seemed to be more ambiguous about what his ethanol position was. From Radio Iowa:

Republican candidate Mitt Romney says he’s “enough of a business guy” to want to review farm programs and federal price supports for corn and soybeans before saying what he would do as president.  

“I’m not running for office based on making promises of handing out money, all right?” Romney said in Iowa Thursday.

Romney sketched out a few more details on his position:

Romney said he supported federal subsidies for ethanol to help get the industry on its feet, but the subsidies shouldn’t continue forever, according to Romney.  …

The federal subsidy for ethanol production is set to expire at the end of the year.  Romney indicated he would like to see more a more gradual reduction in the tax break rather than an abrupt elimination.

UPDATE: “He supports ethanol but he doesn’t believe any subsidy is permanent,” spokeswoman Andrea Saul e-mails. The Romney campaign also sends along this passage from Romney’s No Apology book: “But we should acknowledge that subsidies for one form of energy also discourage investment in alternatives that don’t receive subsidies, which may undermine innovation … Once an industry is up and running, the disadvantages of subsidies outweigh their benefits.”

Katrina Trinko — Katrina Trinko is a political reporter for National Review. Trinko is also a member of USA TODAY’S Board of Contributors, and her work has been published in various media outlets ...

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