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EPA Denies Texas’ Request for RFS Waiver

Thursday, August 7, 2008

(American Meat Institute)

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today its decision to deny a request submitted by the State of Texas to reduce the nationwide Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS).

 

In late April, Texas Governor Rick Perry officially requested a waiver from the RFS.  AMI, and more than 15,000 other concerned citizens and organizations submitted comments in support of the petition, citing multiple reasons the waiver should be granted, including a number of economic harms caused by the corn-ethanol mandates which are already apparent, severe and imminent.   In those comments, AMI President and CEO J. Patrick Boyle noted that the “new, elevated ethanol mandates, enacted by Congress in December 2007, are and will continue to severely harm the economy of Texas, our members and the United States of America if the EPA does not grant this waiver.”

 

In response to EPA’s decision today, Boyle said “using a third of our corn crop for  ethanol production has driven corn and all feed prices up to levels that are severely impacting U.S. meat and poultry producers as well as consumers.”  

 

Boyle noted that the tripling of corn prices has done severe economic harm to the meat and poultry industry.  “The meat and poultry industry has already seen a contraction in production, resulting in smaller herd sizes and higher meat prices for consumers.  Governor Perry recognized earlier this year that a near tripling of feed prices would harm Texas livestock and poultry farmers greatly, put meat industry employees out of jobs and strain Texas consumers.  The same is true all across the country, and unfortunately EPA’s decision ensures that this will continue to be the case unless Congress acts quickly to restructure the ethanol mandates, taxes and tariffs.”

 

Current law authorizes EPA to waive the national RFS if the agency determines that the mandated biofuel volumes would cause “severe harm” to the economy or the environment.  The required total volume of renewable fuels, such as ethanol and biodiesel, mandated by law to be blended into the fuel supply is nine billion gallons in 2008 and 11.1 billion gallons in 2009.

 

This is the first RFS-related waiver request.  In a Federal Register notice, EPA will publish the rationale behind their decision, which the agency says will also serve as a framework for any future waiver considerations.

For more information, go to http://www.foodbeforefuel.org/ or http://www.balancedfoodandfuel-old.org/.

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