30 July 2012 18:33 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--A coalition of US meat and poultry groups on Monday asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to waive the federal standard for corn-based ethanol in gasoline, citing extreme drought conditions.
The coalition said it asked for a waiver “in whole or in substantial part” of the amount of renewable fuel that must be produced under the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) for the remainder of this year and for the portion of 2013 that is one year from the time the waiver becomes effective.
The RFS requires 13.2bn gallons of corn-based ethanol to be produced in 2012 and 13.8bn gallons in 2013, which will require about 4.7bn and 4.9bn bushels, respectively, of the nation’s corn, the coalition said.
The coalition said some agricultural forecasters estimate that just 11.8bn bushels of corn will be harvested this year, compared with about 13bn that were harvested last year.
Under those conditions, corn-ethanol production will use about four of every 10 bushels, the coalition said.
The RFS has “directly affected the supply and cost of feed in major agricultural sectors of this country, causing the type of economic harm that justifies issuance of an RFS waiver,” said the coalition in its petition.
National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) president-elect Randy Spronk said, “America’s pork producers are extremely worried, given the drought affecting much of the corn-growing regions, about having feed for their animals.
“And their anxiety is compounded knowing that the RFS requires corn ethanol to be produced no matter what. We’re asking EPA to give livestock and poultry producers and, ultimately, consumers a little help.”
The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), a corn ethanol production trade group, opposes a waiver.
“Given the flexibilities inherent to the RFS, and the fact that waiving the programme would not result in any meaningful impacts on corn prices, we fully expect [EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson] to deny any waiver request,” said RFA CEO Bob Dinneen.
“A dispassionate review of the facts can lead to only one conclusion: a waiver of the RFS would simply reward oil companies that have long sought to repeal this very important and successful programme. The RFS has reduced our dependence on imported oil and saved consumers at the pump.”
Waiving the RFS requirement “won’t bring the type of relief the livestock groups are seeking, nor will it result in significantly lower feed prices,” Dinneen said. “In fact, because ethanol plants also produce a high protein feed, limiting ethanol production will only further complicate drought related feed issues and costs.”
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