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Corn ethanol's future hangs on pending tax credit decision

By Farms.com

The eagerly awaited tax credit for sustainable airline fuel, promised by the Inflation Reduction Act, is stuck in regulatory limbo, affecting corn farmers and ethanol producers nationwide. The credit, set at $1.25 per gallon for qualifying sustainable fuels, is crucial for integrating corn ethanol into the airline industry's fuel mix.  

The delay, attributed to debates over the methodology for assessing fuels' carbon footprint and sustainability, has heightened tensions among farmers, environmentalists, and industry stakeholders.

Minnesota, a key player in the ethanol market, stands particularly affected. The state's corn farmers, already experimenting with environmentally friendly practices, fear the new regulations may impose challenging requirements. Despite these concerns, the push for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) remains strong, seen as a vital step toward reducing the aviation sector's carbon emissions.

The debate centers around the GREET model, favored by ethanol advocates but criticized by environmental groups for its handling of indirect land use changes. As the industry and environmentalists clash, the government's delay in finalizing the tax credit rules exacerbates uncertainty, with potential consequences for the rural economy and the broader push towards renewable energy.

With calls from Minnesota’s congressional delegation for expedited action, the agriculture and energy sectors await a decision that could shape the future of renewable aviation fuel.


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