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EPA denies request from Virginia, other states
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell had asked the EPA to waive its standards.
RONDA CHURCHILL/ASSOCIATED PRESS
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McDonnell told the EPA that livestock and poultry producers were the largest segment of Virginia's agriculture industry, and that feed costs were their largest expense. He feared, he wrote, that those farmers wouldn't be able to "withstand the rapid feed costs increases and price volatility."
In a statement after the EPA's announcement Friday, McDonnell's office said he sought the waiver "based on the economic harm that might arise from blindly continuing the requirement."
"At a time when we face the prospect of increasing prices for food for both animal and human consumption, it is disappointing that EPA has chosen to deny the waiver request," said McDonnell spokesman Jeff Caldwell. "As a result of this denial, Virginia agricultural producers in the livestock industry can expect to see increases in the cost of feed while Virginia consumers will see increased prices for meat, poultry, dairy and grains."
McDonnell's waiver request came at the behest of state livestock and poultry producers. Grain producers in the state disagreed, saying they'd planted crops based on the expectation of a certain percentage going to ethanol, and that changing that percentage could adversely affect them.
Virginia's senators, Mark Warner and Jim Webb, had also asked the EPA to waive the standards.
They had cited concerns about a potential rise in food prices; their letter to the EPA said the U.S. Department of Agriculture has warned that food costs will rise more than inflation next year, by 3 to 4 percent.
Chelyen Davis: 540/368-5028