US Lawmakers Urge Reduction of Ethanol Mandate

Nearly one third of the U.S. House of Representatives’ membership supports reduction of the government’s requirement to use ethanol in gasoline in order to alleviate dwindling corn supplies and rising costs caused by drought, according to a Reuters report.

One hundred thirty-six of 435 Representatives signed a letter criticizing the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), said a staff worker. The letter reportedly calls for a non-specific “meaningful nationwide adjustment.” Gasoline refiners are expected to use 13.2 billion gallons of ethanol this year, or 40 percent of the corn crop.

“We urge you to adjust the RFS mandate for 2012 to account for the anticipated severe shortage in corn,” the letter says. Legislation to adjust or eliminate the mandate is currently stalled in Congress, according to the report.

The legislators aren’t the only ones to speak out this week. On Monday, a coalition of cattle, hog and poultry groups petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to waive the mandate “in whole or in substantial part” for the remainder of 2012 and part of 2013. Additionally, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) stated that food processors want to cheat corn farmers out of a fair price by obtaining cheap ingredients, and that critics overstate ethanol’s impact on food prices, forecast to rise by 3.5 percent this year and next, according to Reuters.

A news conference to criticize the RFS was scheduled for today.

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