As the worst drought in a half century continues to cripple the US, a bipartisan group of 156 members of Congress is urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to act immediately to reduce the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) mandate to account for the severe anticipated corn shortage.
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.
Poultry industry hails action
The poultry industry has welcomed the action.“We appreciate that these Representatives has fully grasped the scope of this crisis,” said National Turkey Federation, President Joel Brandenberger. “Anything other than immediate action would be a blatant disregard for the petition process of the RFS. The emergency is happening now, today. Our turkey farmers need relief and we are happy to have this much bipartisan support.”
“I commend Representatives Goodlatte, Womack and McIntyre for their leadership on this issue,” said National Chicken Council President Mike Brown. “I urge EPA AdministratorJackson to heed the call of more than one-third of U.S. representatives to help alleviate tight corn supplies and rising prices in the face of the worst drought in more than half a century. Chicken companies in particular are increasingly being severely impacted by the growing diversion of corn into our gas tanks because of government mandated ethanol programs. The chicken industry is urging EPA to implement the law that is on the books and promptly grant a full or partial waiver of the RFS. How bad does it have to get before the administration acts?”
Earlier, industry leaders like Smithfield and Cargill had launched identical pleas.