Representatives urge EPA to waive ethanol mandate

By Agri-Pulse staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, August 2, 2012 - Congressmen Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., Steve Womack, R-Ark., and Mike McIntyre, D-N.C., are heading a plea to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reduce the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) mandate to account for an anticipated corn shortage.

 

< HungerU: the Worlds Food Crisis Demands Your Attentiondiv>A group of 156 members of Congress signed the letter to the EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson because “another short corn crop would be devastating to the animal agriculture industry, food manufacturers, foodservice providers and consumers,” according to the letter. “We strongly urge you to exercise your authority and take the necessary steps to protect American consumers and the economy.”

 

The RFS, enacted in 2007, includes a provision to allow the administrator of the EPA to reduce the required volume of renewable fuel in any year based on severe harm to the economy or environment of a state, a region or the United States. The RFS requires 13.2 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol to be produced in 2012 and 13.8 billion gallons in 2013. The congressional letter contends that the severe drought calls for EPA to request a reduction. 

“These lawmakers recognize that the expected low crop yields we'll have because of the severe drought coupled with pressures on corn usage from federal energy policy will devastate livestock and poultry producers,” said NPPC President-elect Randy Spronk. “We are pleased that these members of Congress are joining livestock and poultry organizations in formally petitioning EPA to grant an RFS waiver, a tool put in the law to address situations such as this drought.”

Livestock and poultry groups filed a petition delivered to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to waive the RFS earlier this week. The RFS has “directly affected the supply and cost of feed in major agricultural sectors of this country, causing the type of economic harm that justifies issuance of an RFS waiver,” said the coalition in its petition. 

“I urge EPA AdministratorJackson to heed the call of more than one-third of U.S. representatives to help alleviate tight corn supplies and rising prices in the face of the worst drought in more than half a century,” said National Chicken Council President Mike Brown. “Chicken companies in particular are increasingly being severely impacted by the growing diversion of corn into our gas tanks because of government mandated ethanol programs.”

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