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AMI Says House Energy Bill Trades Food For Fuel; Calls Bill's Passage Counterproductive

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Washington, DC – The American Meat Institute (AMI) today said that the U.S. House of Representatives’ passage of a 15 billion gallon grain ethanol mandate as part of H.R. 6 will drive up food prices and ultimately trade food for fuel. The bill passed the House this afternoon 234-181.

“We support efforts to increase U.S. energy security, but this bill takes a myopic approach by mandating grain-based ethanol, increasing demand for corn even further than the record levels we’ve seen in the last twelve months,” AMI President J. Patrick Boyle said. “The net effect of this bill will be to increase the cost of meat and poultry to consumers.”

According to USDA, meat, poultry and egg spending comprise 60 percent of the average consumer’s food dollar.

“This energy bill stands to send an economic jolt to Americans’ grocery bills,” Boyle said. “The rush to further increase the mandate is sure to bring a host of negative consequences, from adding costs to federal feeding programs to making our livestock and poultry exports less competitive relative to those produced by other nations. The passage of this bill is extremely counterproductive.”

Boyle said there are many other common sense approaches that could be taken to enhance energy security without using food for fuel.

An option to limit consequences on food security and livestock producers is to develop a clear mechanism to reduce the mandate in the case of projected food price increases, adverse weather conditions, harm to livestock producers, infrastructure bottlenecks, or other adverse consequences, he said.

He also said that a 15 billion gallon mandate for grain based fuels is far too high. Finally, he said that all interests impacted by the ethanol mandate should have the opportunity to request a waiver.

For more information, visit http://www.balancedfoodandfuel-old.org

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