The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has denied a petition by the governors of poultry producing states that would have waived the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and its requirement for ethanol in the nation’s fuel supply.
In its decision to deny the request, EPA said Friday that the RFS itself is not causing economic harm and that suspending the standard would reduce corn prices by only 1%. “We recognize that this year’s drought has created hardship in some sectors of the economy, particularly for livestock producers,” said EPA’s Gina McCarthy in a statement. “But our extensive analysis makes clear that congressional requirements for a waiver have not been met and that waiving the RFS will have little, if any, impact.”
The ethanol industry is obviously pleased with the decision and so are corn farmers. “The National Corn Growers Association supports the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to deny the Renewable Fuel Standard waiver request,” said NCGA President Pam Johnson “We believe Administrator Jackson appropriately recognized petitioners did not properly prove severe nationwide economic harm had occurred thereby creating no justification for a waiver of the RFS.”
“The RFS is working as designed,” said Renewable Fuels Association president Bob Dinneen. “The flexibility that is built into the RFS allows the marketplace to ration demand, not the government. Indeed, the ethanol industry has responded to the market by reducing output by approximately 12%.”
Listen to or download interview with Bob Dinneen. RFA reacts to RFS Waiver Denial
Livestock and poultry producers, however, are not so happy. A coalition of livestock, poultry and dairy organizations issued a statement expressing “extreme disappointment” with the denial.
“We are extremely frustrated and discouraged that EPA chose to ignore the clear economic argument from tens of thousands of family farmers and livestock and poultry producers that the food-to-fuel policy is causing and will cause severe harm to regions in which those farmers and producers operate,” the coalition said.
In fact, dozens of poultry, pork, beef and dairy operations have filed for bankruptcy, been sold or simply gone out of business over the past several months because of rising feed grain prices.
“How many more jobs and family farms have to be lost before we change this misguided policy and create a level playing field on the free market for the end users of corn?” the coalition asked. “It is now abundantly clear that this law is broken, and we will explore remedies to fix it.”