The federal EPA has denied a request to waive the corn-ethanol mandate in the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS).
Despite claims to the contrary from livestock, poultry and dairy groups, the EPA says the RFS is not causing economic harm. The agency determined that suspending the standard would reduce corn prices by only one percent.
Reaction to the announcement is about as expected, with ethanol and corn groups applauding the decision and livestock groups expressing frustration.
Monte Shaw is executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association.
“Today’s decision proves that the RFS is working—that there’s inherent flexibility built into the law that allows it to adjust for a short crop,” Shaw says.
But National Chicken Council spokesman Tom Super tells Brownfield that the impact on corn prices caused by the RFS is much greater than EPA’s “one percent” figure.
“Our economic data suggests otherwise,” Super says. “There have been several studies that showed that a full waiver next year would take about two dollars off a bushel of corn.”
The president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association—Nebraska cattle feeder J.D. Alexander—called the EPA’s decision “a blatant example of the flawed policy of the RFS”. Alexander says cattlemen and women are only asking for a level playing field.
Asked if they will pursue congressional changes to the RFS, Super says, “all options are on the table to fix this misguided policy, yes.”
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