In the midst of the Senate’s debate on the 2012 farm bill, Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) on Monday filed an amendment to the bill that would fully repeal the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) that mandates a minimum volume of biofuels used in the national transportation fuel supply each year.

NCC led a broad coalition of food, livestock, poultry, taxpayer and small business organizations in issuing a letter offering support for the amendment.

“The federal RFS has failed to meet its stated goals, and as it stands, is a de facto mandate for corn ethanol that is damaging our economy, wasting taxpayer dollars and driving up feed and food prices,” the groups wrote.

The coalition noted that the recent spike in corn prices has analysts signaling the United States will run short of corn this summer. Many agricultural commodity analysts say USDA has over-estimated the current supply of corn, so that the situation is significantly worse than what USDA has officially reported. Even more importantly, dry weather conditions in much of the Corn Belt are negatively impacting crop yields. Corn during the past two years fell short of market needs with the carryover inventory being pulled down to pipeline levels.

“Another short corn crop would be extremely devastating to the animal agriculture industry, food makers and foodservice providers, as well as consumers,” the groups added.  “Because of the RFS mandate, however, corn-based ethanol manufacturers are protected from sharing the burden that would result from a corn harvest shortfall.”

“Last year Congress rightly allowed the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit and the ethanol import tariff to expire as scheduled,” concluded the letter.  “As policymakers now shift focus to the RFS mandate, we collectively offer our support for this amendment and commend you for its introduction.”

It is unclear if the amendment will be introduced or brought to the Senate floor for debate.

The coalition letter is available here.

 

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