The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Michal Rosenoer, biofuels campaigner at Friends of the Earth, at 415-359-7309

EPA Prioritizes Ethanol Industry Above Struggling Citizens; Refuses to Waive Biofuels Mandate


Today the United States Environmental Protection Agency announced its decision to uphold the corn ethanol requirement of the Renewable Fuel Standard -- the federal biofuels mandate -- despite calls from eight states and nearly 200 members of Congress to waive the mandate to relieve pressure on food prices. In August of this year, the governors of North Carolina and Arkansas requested that EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson waive the corn ethanol mandate to free up drought-damaged corn yields for food and animal feed. Their waiver requests were echoed in similar petitions and letters to the EPA from six other states, 26 Senators and 156 members of Congress.

In 2011, almost half the corn grown in the U.S. was diverted to ethanol production to meet the RFS. This year the RFS requires the use of 13.2 billion gallons of corn ethanol, the production of which could require using more than half the country's corn crop. The 2012 U.S. corn yield is expected to fall nearly a billion bushels short of 2011's yields due to the worst drought in the U.S. in more than 50 years.

Michal Rosenoer, biofuels policy campaigner at Friends of the Earth, had the following to say about the EPA decision:

"If the worst U.S. drought in more than 50 years and skyrocketing food prices are not enough to make EPA act, it falls to Congress to provide relief from our senseless federal support for corn ethanol. The RFS is a broken policy -- rather than giving us clean energy, it's incentivizing biofuels like corn ethanol that are exacerbating our economic and environmental problems.

"Congress needs to cut corn ethanol from the RFS entirely to protect the economy and the environment from this destructive and dirty fuel."

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