Livestock and poultry groups are asking six centrist U.S. senators involved in budget negotiations to end subsidies for ethanol.

Groups including the National Pork Producers Council, National Chicken Council and National Cattlemen's Beef Association claim lawmakers could save $6 billion annually by eliminating the ethanol tax credit, according to the Capital Press.

The Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit, which is scheduled to expire at the end of 2011, allows petroleum companies to claim 45 cents for each gallon of ethanol added to motor fuel.

"Not only would saving the U.S. Treasury $6 billion in lost revenue be a prudent budgetary decision, such action would also be a good and strong signal that it is now time for the 30-year-old ethanol industry to begin to compete in the marketplace without the aid of government subsidies," said a letter from the groups, which also included the American Meat Institute, the National Meat Association and National Turkey Federation.

The letter was sent to the "Gang of Six" who have been working to reach a budget compromise. They are Republican Sens. Mike Crapo of Idaho, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Democratic Sens. Richard Durbin of Illinois, Ken Conrad of North Dakota and Mark Warner of Virginia.

Last week, Coburn and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, (D-Calif.), introduced a bill that would eliminate the tax credit as well as a tariff on imported ethanol. Sen. James Risch, (R-Idaho), is a co-sponsor.

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Source: Capital Press