As a historic drought wreaks havoc on Midwest cornfields, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree joined colleagues on both sides of the aisle today to ask the EPA to lower requirements for corn-based ethanol.
"This drought is the worst we've seen in 50 years and corn production could be the lowest in decades--only 31 percent of the crop is in good condition. Turning corn into fuel doesn't make sense environmentally and at a time like this it will also lead to higher food and gas prices," Pingree said. "Not to mention driving up feed prices for dairy farmers in Maine and around the country."
Pingree, along with several of her colleagues in the House, sent a letter to the EPA asking for a reduction of the Federal Renewable Fuel Standard, which mandates the production of 16.55 billion gallons of renewable fuels in 2013. Corn-based ethanol makes up the vast majority of these fuels, with 40 percent of the nation's corn crop going to fuel production.
"EPA is allowed to adjust these mandates if there is the kind of spike in the market that we're seeing. With impending cost hikes for consumers, it's the right thing to do," said Pingree. "Ultimately, food production shouldn't have to take a back seat to making a fuel that is not good for our vehicles or environment. With a questionable environmental record, ethanol is not the right way to reduce our dependency on oil. And here in Maine I've heard from lots of people about how ethanol is wreaking havoc on outboards and other small engines. "