Governors of Maryland and Delaware call for waiver of RFS

By Agri-Pulse staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

WASHINGTON, August 10, 2012 -The governors of Maryland and Delaware requested that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) waive the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for the next year.

In a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson dated August 9, Governor Martin O'Malley (D-Md.) and Governor Jack Markell (D-Del.) petitioned Administrator Lisa Jackson to exercise her statutory authority to waive the RFS ethanol mandate. The action “would make more than five billion bushels of corn available to the marketplace for animal feed and foodstuffs, driving down costs and significantly lessening the financial impact to Delmarva's poultry farms and consumers,” they said. 

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The state purpose of governors' letter is to support the efforts of the National Chicken Council and other groups that petitioned EPA for a waiver of the RFS. The governors said that if the RFS standards are not waived, the consequences to Maryland and Delaware's economy would be severe, including the loss of thousands of jobs.

“While there may be some who question the true price impact of waiving the RFS standards for a limited period, those debates are quantitative, not qualitative, as it is not in dispute that a waiver would put downward pressure on corn pricing,” the letter continued. “Given the likely impacts to the poultry industry, not to mention the increased cost of food for consumers, of this dramatic increase in price due to the undersupply of corn, it is hard to imagine any scenario when exercising your authority would be more appropriate.”

In today's World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report, USDA estimated the 2012-13 corn crop to be 10.8 billion bushels with a yield of 123.4 bushels per acre, down more than 22 bushels per acre from the last estimate.  USDA also forecasts record corn prices of $7.50 to $8.90 per bushel at the farm level.

The governors noted that USDA reduced its feed usage forecast from its report last month by over 15 percent. They said much of the burden of a short corn crop will fall heavily on poultry and livestock producers. Their letter comes after a petition from livestock and poultry organizations, backed by 156 House members and 26 senators. 



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