The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today denied the petitions from several Governors for a waiver to the Renewal Fuel Standard (RFS) for corn-based ethanol.

Despite the comments filed by the National Chicken Council and tens of thousands of other concerned and like-minded parties, EPA apparently continues to favor its supposed stated goal of energy security at the expense of jeopardizing food security, animal agriculture, jobs and family farmers.

NCC joined  a broad coalition of livestock, poultry and dairy organizations in expressing  outrage with the decision.

“We are extremely frustrated and discouraged that EPA chose to ignore the clear economic argument from tens of thousands of family farmers and livestock and poultry producers that the food-to-fuel policy is causing and will cause severe harm to regions in which those farmers and producers operate,” the coalition said.

How many more jobs and family farms have to be lost before we change this misguided policy and create a level playing field on the free market for the end users of corn?” the coalition asked.  “It is now abundantly clear that this law is broken, and we will explore remedies to fix it.”

In its announcement EPA explained that “the agency’s extensive analysis makes clear that congressional requirements for a waiver have not been met and that waiving the RFS would have little, if any, impact on ethanol demand or energy prices over the time period analyzed.”  Further, EPA said it analyzed 500 scenarios and in 89 percent of them found no impact from the RFS program.  Of the 11 percent of the scenarios where the RFS requirements would have an impact on corn, the average impact on corn prices was only 7 cents per bushel, which EPA said is less than one percent change in corn prices.  EPA concluded that it had applied the detailed analysis to the statutory criteria for a waiver and found that the “evidence did not support a determination that the criteria for a waiver had been met, and therefore by law must deny the waiver.”

In addition to the livestock, poultry and dairy organizations, a bipartisan group of 34 U.S. senators and 156 House members and nine governors petitioned EPA to grant a waiver of the federal requirement for the production of corn ethanol because the mandate, coupled with a drought that has reduced yields and pushed up prices of feed grains, has caused the severe economic harm for which Congress added “safety valves.”

“Unfortunately, EPA chose to ignore all of them by issuing a decision that is going to cost more American jobs, put family farmers and ranchers out of business, create an animal feed crisis and cause food costs to soar in the coming months,” the coalition concluded in its press release.

Here is the link to the coalition news release and the link to EPA Federal Register Notice.