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Lawmakers ask EPA for RFS rollback

Agriculture.com Staff 06/30/2008 @ 12:08pm

In an effort to help out those who are shouldering the heaviest loads with regard to current corn prices, a group of more than 50 republican lawmakers Monday sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requesting a reduction in the amount of renewable fuels mandated by the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS).

Ranking republican of the House Agriculture Committee Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), who led the delegation calling for the RFS rollback, says while the pool of factors contributing to higher grain prices stretches well beyond biofuels mandates, this year's poor growing conditions thus far already have analysts expecting shortfalls once the bushels start coming in from the field this fall. Scaling back the RFS will lessen the chances that a shortage will develop.

"There are a variety of factors contributing to high commodity prices including export restrictions, energy prices and global demand. Recently, adverse weather conditions in the U.S. have further exacerbated shortages in and increased prices on the commodity market," according to a statement from Goodlatte's office. "Nearly one-third of the U.S. corn crop is projected to be used to meet the increased RFS of 9 billion gallons of ethanol in 2008."

Monday's letter to the EPA follows Texas Governor Rick Perry's waiver request earlier this spring, in which he sought a 50% RFS reduction in his state. Even though that move was shunned by many in the traditional ethanol support contingent, Monday's request for a RFS rollback on a federal level comes at a time when it's a more reasonable course of action, Goodlatte says, especially when looking at the balance sheets of livestock producers relying on corn for feed.

"The recent flooding in the Midwest has created devastating crop losses and these record corn prices will continue to climb. There are many factors that have increased the price of corn, but the only factor that we can immediately control is the amount of the corn supply that must be dedicated to meet the RFS. Our livestock producers and the American consumer have been hit hard in the pocket books," Goodlatte said Monday. "I urge the Administration to reduce the government mandated RFS so we can lessen the economic harm facing millions of Americans. A temporary waiver will offer immediate relief to those affected by the current shortage of the corn supply."

In an effort to help out those who are shouldering the heaviest loads with regard to current corn prices, a group of more than 50 republican lawmakers Monday sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requesting a reduction in the amount of renewable fuels mandated by the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS).

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