Costa: EPA Blind to Challenges Facing US Agriculture

Press Release

By:  Jim Costa
Date: Nov. 16, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

Rep. Jim Costa blasted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for denying requests to waive the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) despite skyrocketing feed prices caused by the current record drought. Governors, Congress, and a number of national organizations representing dairy, poultry, and livestock have called on the EPA for months to waive the RFS in order to provide feed price relief. In the announcement of their decision, the EPA stated that the agency had "not found evidence to support a finding of severe economic harm."

"Today, the EPA decided to put a flawed policy over the interests of hardworking Americans," said Costa. "How many more dairymen, poultrymen, and livestock producers have to go broke before the EPA finally hears their calls for relief?"

Since June, feed prices have jumped nearly 60 percent jeopardizing California's $8 billion dairy industry. By the end of the year, the state may lose over 100 dairies due to bankruptcy, foreclosures, and sales.

"This misguided decision demonstrates the need for real reform of the RFS if we want a level playing field for American agriculture," said Costa. "Had the legislation Rep. Goodlatte and I introduced already been in place, dairy, poultry, and livestock producers would not be at the mercy of the EPA right now. It's time for real reform because clearly this system is broken."

Last October, Rep. Costa introduced the Renewable Fuel Flexibility Act (H.R. 3097) with Rep. Goodlatte (R-VA). This legislation links the amount of corn ethanol required to fulfill the RFS to U.S. corn supplies. In years when the corn supply is tight, the Renewable Fuel Flexibility Act would serve as a "relief valve" and trigger an automatic reduction in the RFS. Had this legislation been in place the RFS would have been automatically reduced without the EPA taking administrative action.