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Uphold the Renewable Fuel Standard
I support the decision of the EPA to consider the widespread implications and severe economic impact of petitions from Rep. Bob Goodlatte, Gov. Bob McDonnell, and several legislators to waive the Renewable Fuels Standard, and to reject these requests. The creation of innovative incentive programs, such as the Renewable Fuel Standards, is beneficial to the environment and critical to our nation's energy independence, national security, and job creation for rural America.
The RFS has been of significant net value to the economy and is helping to reduce our nation's dependence on foreign oil, lower consumer gasoline costs by an average of 89 cents a gallon, all without interrupting the supply of feed grains to livestock and poultry producers. Unfortunately, the RFS remains under attack from those who voice concerns about perceived implications of ethanol use and corn's use as an ethanol feedstock.
Ethanol does not consume nearly as much corn as the livestock sector. Ethanol itself provides a valuable feed resource in distillers grains, the co-product of ethanol production. Ethanol production removes only the starch from the kernel of corn leaving the protein and most of the nutritional value intact. Each bushel of processed corn produces 2.8 gallons of ethanol and 17 pounds of distillers grains. Through this process, an additional 38.6 million metric tons of high-quality distillers grains enter the livestock feed supply from the production of 14 billion gallons of ethanol.
Rep. Goodlatte has now introduced two bills that would again attempt to alter or end the RFS, on the grounds that it causes economic harm to poultry and livestock producers, the industries that support them, and consumers. The justification being that the amount of corn and soybeans utilized under the RFS stresses grain supplies and increases the costs of producing food.
I believe it is unnecessary to consider any waiver to the RFS. The waiver process language in the RFS calls for objective analysis of the economic impact of the RFS on the economy. This analysis occurred as designed, and has shown that the RFS is not causing severe economic harm, but instead ethanol production is responding to supply and market forces rather than the RFS.
Bryan Taliaferro is first vice president of the Virginia Grain Producers Association.