Texas Governor Rick Perry, who jumped into the Republican presidential nomination race last weekend, may be the only candidate who has actually taken action against the federal mandate that is pulling increasing amount of corn into ethanol production. In 2008, Perry filed a petition with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) seeking a 50-percent reduction in the mandate due to the high price of corn. 

“While I have no doubt this mandate was a well-intentioned effort to move our country toward energy independence, it is doing more harm than good and must be modified before our livestock industry suffers permanent damage,” Perry said then. “Granting this waiver will provide much needed relief to families, while enabling Texas to continue feeding and fueling the nation.”

 EPA ultimately rejected the petition, leaving the mandate in force. Corn, which hit $6 a bushel in 2008, averaged about $4 for that year and is now selling for over $7.

 Since getting into the race and campaigning in Iowa, where corn is a key money crop, Perry has called for a “conversation” on energy subsidies.

 “Obviously the subsidies on ethanol are going to be moving out of there,” Perry said in an interview with the Des Moines Register. “It’s a mature industry. And so the oil and gas industry has tax incentives. We need all the different energy sources that we can have out there. So let’s have the conversation about which of these are really the most appropriate ones for us to have in this country. Do you go away from a subsidy program to a tax incentive program?”

 

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