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Lawmakers Request RFS Waiver

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More than 150 members of the U.S. House have asked Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson to waive the Renewable Fuel Standard for the rest of the year in order to help ease corn supply concerns and protect American consumers, livestock producers and the economy. The request follows on the heels of a petition asking the agency to grant a waiver of the RFS in whole or in part for the remainder of 2012 and part of 2013. That petition was filed by a coalition of livestock and poultry organizations including the National Pork Producers Council. NPPC praised the group of lawmakers – led by Virginia’s Bob Goodlatte, Steve Womack of Arkansas and North Carolina’s Mike McIntyre – for requesting the waiver to help livestock and poultry producers weather the worst drought in more than 50 years. But Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen says calls to waive the RFS are premature and void of justification.

In 2012 – the RFS requires the production of 13.2-billion gallons of corn-based ethanol. That amount rises to 13.8-billion in 2013. To reach those levels – NPPC says the ethanol industry will use about 4.7-billion and 4.9-billion bushels respectively of the nation’s corn. The drought is expected to reduce corn yields – with some forecasters estimating a harvest of 11.8-billion bushels of corn. NPPC President-elect Randy Spronk says the lawmakers behind the waiver request recognize that the expected low crop yields – coupled with pressures on corn usage from federal energy policy – will devastate livestock and poultry producers.

RFA’s Dinneen says the RFS is working – and knee-jerk reactions to acts of God will not provide the kind of relief some are seeking. He says the RFS contains a great deal of flexibility – allowing obligated parties to meet RFS requirements in a variety of ways other than blending physical gallons of ethanol. Dinneen says the market is taking advantage of that flexibility – pointing out that domestic ethanol demand for corn has fallen nearly 15-percent and production has dropped in the last six weeks. Dinneen says waiving the RFS will not make it rain, bring pastures to life or meaningfully lower corn prices. He says grain will be produced her at home and abroad – and ultimately the market will ration demand.

Source: NAFB News Service