The ethanol industry took a shot on Saturday when the U.S. House of Representatives voted to remove funding for the expansion of ethanol in vehicle fuel.
The House voted 285-136 on a measure that blocks the Environmental Protection Agency from raising the cap on ethanol from 10 percent to 15 percent.
The House also voted 261-185 to remove EPA funding to help pay for the special pumps needed to dispense higher blends of ethanol at gas stations.
The measures are part of the House's much larger budget resolution and must survive budget negotiations with the Senate and get a signature from President Obama before they become law. The Senate is considered more supportive of ethanol in part because farm state representation is stronger there.
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The offices of Sens. Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran of Kansas could not be reached for comment on Monday.
U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, voted to eliminate the funding. His office could not be reached for comment on Monday.
Lynn Jenkins, R-Topeka, and Kevin Yoder, R-Overland Park, voted the same as Pompeo.
Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler, who represents western and much of central Kansas, voted against the amendments.
Ethanol has attracted a range of opponents since the EPA first approved the move to 15 percent ethanol last year. Last week industry groups representing the makers of automobiles and others vehicles, food producers and processors, and oil and chemical refiners sent a letter opposing the expansion.
In the letter, the groups pleaded that the EPA be made to do further testing on automobile engines to determine long-term effects.
Some opponents also contend that corn-based ethanol has contributed to the high demand that has raised corn prices by more than 50 percent over the past eight months.
And others say that ethanol is simply too expensive compared to petroleum and the government shouldn't get into the business of subsidizing the alternative fuel.
Greg Krissek, director of governmental affairs for ICM, a Colwich company that designs, builds and operates ethanol plants, said the vote was unfortunate.
The 15 percent ethanol and the blender pumps "are the kind of provisions that we need to help be competitive with the long-standing oil complex," he said.
The EPA has had plenty of data with which to make a determination of harm, he said.
" (The opponents) want to keep testing for testing sake," he said.
And ethanol, he said, isn't what's causing rising corn prices. The price of all other grains are rising, as are other commodities such as copper and cotton. Krissek said the rising price of oil is more responsible for rising prices than ethanol.