A group of 156 US Congress members is urging the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reduce the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) mandate.
With demand for corn lowered this way, it is hoped the remaining supplies of corn in this period of the worst drought since 1956 can be made available for the feed and food business. The move is therefore applauded by several groups representing the meat and poultry industries.
They argue that drought conditions are cause for the EPA to adjust the RFS mandate for 2012 to account for a forecast shortage in corn. Waiver provisions may help protect the US economy.
The letter reads: "Clearly, the Congress in 2007 anticipated that unforeseen circumstances would require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to exercise flexibility with the RFS. We believe the current weather situation in the United States calls for exactly the kind of flexibility that was envisioned."
The letter goes on to point out that much less than half of the US corn crop is in ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ condition, and that improved weather in the future won't repair damage already done to the corn crop.
"We therefore urge the EPA to consider a fair and meaningful nationwide adjustment to the Renewable Fuels Standard," the letter states.
Groups representing the US agricultural industry applauded the initiative, among them the US National Pork Producers Council (NPPC).
NPPC president-elect Randy Spronk said: “NPPC appreciates the congressional leadership being shown on this issue. These lawmakers recognize that the expected low crop yields we’ll have because of the severe drought coupled with pressures on corn usage from federal energy policy will devastate livestock and poultry producers. We are pleased that these members of Congress are joining livestock and poultry organizations in formally petitioning EPA to grant an RFS waiver, a tool put in the law to address situations such as this drought.”
According to the NPPC, the RFS requires 13.2 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol to be produced in 2012 and 13.8 billion gallons in 2013, amounts that will see the ethanol industry use about 4.7 billion and 4.9 billion bushels, respectively, of the nation’s corn.
Earlier, industry leaders like Smithfield and Cargill had launched identical pleas.
• Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
• National Pork Producers Council (NPPC)