Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney continues to support federal ethanol subsidies even as he opened a campaign for the 2012 Republican nomination for President. Romney backed ethanol subsidies in his unsuccessful 2008 bid for the GOP nod.

“I support the subsidy of ethanol,” he told a voter in Iowa a few days before beginning his campaign at a rally in New Hampshire, site of the first primary election next year.  “I believe ethanol is an important part of our energy solution for this country.”  Iowa leads the nation in the production of corn, the principal feedstock for ethanol production.

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, who is not officially running despite taking her family on a bus tour that ended in New Hampshire, said she is against all kinds of energy subsidies.  “I think all our energy subsidies need to be re-looked at today and eliminated,” Palin told Scott Conroy of Real Clear Politics during a stop at a coffee shop.  “And we need to make sure that we’re investing and allowing our businesses to invest in reliable energy products right now that aren’t going to necessitate subsidies because, bottom line, we can’t afford it.”

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty came out against ethanol subsidies in announcing his candidacy but apparently supports a phaseout of the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC), rather than allowing it to expire at the end of the year, as provided in current law.