Senators join appeal to adjust RFS

By Agri-Pulse staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, August 7, 2012 - Following a petition from livestock, poultry and dairy industry members and a similar appeal from 156 members of the House, 25 U.S. senators today urged EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to use her waiver authority to adjust the corn-ethanol mandate for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

“As stressful weather conditions continue to push corn yields lower and prices upward, the economic ramifications for consumers, livestock and poultry producers, food manufacturers and foodservice providers will become more severe,” the senators wrote in a letter to Jackson. “We ask you to adjust the corn grain-ethanol mandate of the RFS to reflect this natural disaster and these new market conditions. Doing so will help to ease supply concerns and provide relief from high corn prices.”

The letter cited USDA data that recently rated only 23 percent of the corn crop as good to excellent and 50 percent as poor to very poor because of persistent extreme heat and drought.

Senators signing the letter are: Hagan (D-NC), Chambliss (R-GA), Pryor (D-AR), Boozman (R-AR), Cardin (D-MD), Isakson (R-GA), Coons (D-DE), Feinstein (D-CA), Hutchison (R-TX), Carper (D-DE), Sessions (R-AL), Mikulski (D-MD), Webb (D-VA), Warner (D-VA), Burr (R-NC), Murkowski (R-AK), Tom Udall (D-NM), Landrieu (D-LA), Shaheen (D-NH), Graham (R-SC), Coburn (R-OK), McCain (R-AZ), Crapo (R-ID), Risch (R-ID) and Manchin (D-WV).

A coalition of livestock, poultry, meat, dairy and feed organizations recently delivered a petition to Jackson asking for a waiver “in whole or in substantial part” of the amount of renewable fuel that must be produced under the RFS for the remainder of this year and for the portion of 2013 that is one year from the time the waiver becomes effective.

“Congress included safety valves that enable the agency to take such action to prevent economic harm,” the groups said in a statement.  “The worst drought since the Eisenhower administration calls for exactly the kind of flexibility that Congress envisioned.”

Groups that signed the petition include the American Feed Industry Association, American Meat Institute, American Sheep Industries Association, California Dairy Campaign, Dairy Producers of New Mexico, Dairy Producers of Utah, Idaho Dairymen's Association, Milk Producers Council, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, National Chicken Council, National Pork Producers Council, National Turkey Federation, Nevada State Dairy Commission, North American Meat Association, Northwest Dairy Association, Oregon Dairy Farmers Association, Southeast Milk Inc., United Dairymen of Arizona and the Washington State Dairy Federation.

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