U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) today wrote to Lisa Jackson, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to urge her to waive the corn-ethanol requirements as part of the Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS). The RFS program was created under the Energy Policy Act (EPAct) of 2005, and mandated the quantity of renewable fuel that must be used in the United States.
"The corn-ethanol requirements are placing considerable strain on Utah's farmers and ranchers during an already difficult season," Hatch said. "Waiving the mandate after one of the worst growing seasons in decades just makes sense. I implore Administrator Jackson to give Utah's ranchers and farmers some relief as they attempt to recover from this summer's terrible conditions."
The RFS originally mandated 7.5 billion gallons of biofuels (primarily derived from corn) to be produced in the year 2012, but the mandate was later increased to 13.2 billion gallons.
In the letter, Hatch cites United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) data which shows that 23 percent of U.S. corn crop yields are in good or excellent condition, and 50 percent are rated as poor to very poor. This 23 percent is in contrast to a 70 percent good or excellent rating by the USDA earlier this year. Hatch also notes that the USDA expects the problem to continue to worsen, and predicts corn yields will be 146 bushels per acre with food prices increasing 3 to 4 percent by next year.