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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) proposed an amendment to the 2012 Agriculture Appropriations bill that would bar the federal government from funding gas station blender pumps, according to a Reuters report. Construction, installation and operation of the pumps that dispense a range of gasoline and ethanol flex-fuels would no longer be subsidized.
"In these tight economic times when we are asking families to do more with less, we should not be subsidizing gas pumps at retail gas stations," said Brian Rogers, a spokesman for McCain. "The ethanol industry needs to prove it can prosper on its own and quit asking for taxpayer handouts."
Critics of ethanol's government funding have said the industry should stand on its own after receiving subsidies since the 1970s. It is already likely that corn ethanol producers and oil companies that blend flex-fuels will lose $6 billion in annual subsidies when a blenders' tax credit expires at the end of this year.
However, opponents of McCain's amendment argue that if passed, it would cut down on the amount of choice consumers have at the pump.
"By specifically singling out the ethanol molecule for exclusion, this amendment is seeking to kill new technologies using algae, wood waste, garbage and other feedstocks that would produce ethanol in their infancy," the Renewable Fuels Association said in a released statement. "America needs jobs, and domestic ethanol production is a proven method to create those opportunities. We already know what we get by outsourcing our energy future."
This proposed amendment marks McCain's second attempt to cut off funding to the ethanol industry. In June, the same amendment was voted down 41-59.