Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) introduced two measures this week concerning eliminating and reducing the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for ethanol. The Renewable Fuel Standard Flexibility Act will partially waive the RFS when corn inventories are low.   The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has the authority under the Clean Air Act to set the RFS.   The bill sets triggers when EPA must adjust the RFS.  No action is required unless U.S. corn stocks-to-use ratios for the current crop year dip below 10 percent.  The decision to change the RFS mandate would be based on semi-annual assessments of ending corn stocks to total corn usage as determined by USDA’s  “World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates” report.  The corn stocks-to-use ratio schedule is as follows:

U.S. Corn Stocks-to-Use Ratio
for the Current Crop Year
Reduction in national quantity of
Renewable fuel required
(percent) (percent)
Above 10.0 No adjustment
10.0 – 7.5 10 reduction
7.49 – 6.0 15 reduction
5.99 – 5.0 25 reduction
Below 5.0 50 reduction

Twenty six Members of Congress joined Rep. Goodlatte to be original cosponsors:  Jim Costa (D-CA), Joe Baca (D-CA), John Barrow (D-GA), Dan Boren (D-OK), G.K. Butterfield (D-NC),  Dennis Cardoza (D-CA), Rick Crawford (R-AR), Henry Cuellar (D-TX),  Renee Ellmers (R-NC), Tom Graves (R-GA), Tim Griffin (R-AR), Morgan Griffith (R-VA), Andy Harris (R-MD), Robert Hurt (R-VA), Jim Matheson (D-UT), Tom McClintock (R-CA), Mike McIntyre (D-NC), Jim Moran (D-VA),  Alan Nunnelee (R-MS), Joe Pitts (R-PA), Tom Rooney (R-FL), Mike Ross (D-AR), Mike Simpson (R-ID), Rob Wittman (R-VA), Peter Welch (D-VT), and Steve Womack (R-AR).   The bill was referred to the Energy and Commerce Committee.

Goodlatte also introduced The Renewable Fuel Standard Elimination Act which would repeal the RFS.  The bill has six cosponsors: Jeff Denham (R-CA), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Tom Graves (R-GA), Tom McClintock (R-CA), Devin Nunes (R-CA), and Dennis Ross (R-FL).  The bill has been referred to the Energy and Commerce Committee.

When Rep. Goodlatte addressed the National Chicken Council’s 57th Annual Conference in Washington this week, he said that, while he favored the total repeal of the RFS, he realized that the waiver is the most likely version to garner the biggest support in Congress.  Rep. Goodlatte held a press conference after leaving NCC’s Annual Conference where he called for the need for change in the current policy and the need to support livestock and poultry producers.

The poultry industry was represented at the press conference by Virginia Poultry Federation President Hobey Bauhan.  Bauhan explained that “our nation’s inventory has fallen to critically low levels and will most likely fall further to only about two and one half weeks, primarily due to the enormous draw on the corn supply by ethanol producers – about 40 percent of the total supply.”

NCC issued a statement of support of H.R.3097.  No hearings have been scheduled in the House on either bill.