Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell have joined several other governors around the country urging Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson to use her existing waiver authority as soon as possible to adjust the corn-ethanol mandate for the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). They are the seventh and eighth governors to make such a request.
“The RFS may have been a well-intentioned effort to move our country toward energy independence, but it has, predictably, done more harm than good. Not only is it driving up grocery prices for all families, it is also putting increasing strain on business,” Perry says. “Good intentions and laudable goals are small compensation to the families, farmers and ranchers who are being hurt by the federal government's efforts to trade food for fuel. Any government mandate that benefits one industry to the detriment of millions of consumers is bad policy.”
Gov. McDonnell’s petition states, “Altogether economic harm is being experienced by Virginia’s livestock and poultry production regions and important economic sectors in the state as a direct result of the implementation of the applicable volume requirements of the RFS. This harm could be alleviated by a full waiver of the RFS in 2012 and 2013. Granting a full waiver now would allow for the waiver to extend into the 2012 harvest season and a large part of the 2013 growing season.”
Governors Martin O’Malley of Maryland, Jack Markell of Delaware, Mike Beebe of Arkansas, Beverly Perdue of North Carolina, Nathan Deal of Georgia and Susana Martinez of New Mexico have made similar requests. They join a growing chorus that has pushed for a waiver of the federal mandate for the production of corn ethanol, including a bipartisan group of 156 members of the House of Representatives as well as 34 Senators.
A large coalition of livestock, poultry, meat, dairy and feed organizations also 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.
August’s crop report released by USDA shows U.S. corn supplies for 2012-2013 will hit a nine-year low due to the nation’s record-breaking drought and other factors, which will drive record corn prices even higher. According to the crop report, corn is projected at a record $7.50 to $8.90 per bushel, up sharply from the $5.40 to $6.40 per bushel projected in July.
Governor Perry’s full request is available here: http://governor.state.tx.us/files/press-office/O-JacksonLisa201208240000.pdf
Governor McDonnell’s full request is available here: http://www.nationalchickencouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Ethanol-Waiver-Request-Letter-August-2012.pdf.