American Farm Bureau Foundation rebukes RFS waiver request

By Anna Austin | June 02, 2008
Web exclusive posted June 23, 2008 at 1:00 p.m. CST

In a letter highlighting statements made by the National Corn Growers Association last week, the American Farm Bureau Foundation expressed an unwavering opinion to the U.S. EPA regarding the renewable fuels standard (RFS) exemption request by Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

The basis of the AFBF letter, dated June 19, supported NCGA's claims that Texas has not met requirements for a waiver to be granted, and that Gov. Perry has overlooked the economic benefits of ethanol as well as negative repercussions that may result in case of a waiver grant.

Noting that in 2007 ethanol contributed $46.7 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product and provided over 238,500 new jobs, the AFBF said, "The RFS is part of the fuel for economic growth and any evaluation of a waiver request must consider not only the impacts of the waiver on Texas - alleged impacts that we dispute - but also the negative impacts on jobs that would be created by a waiver."

The AFBF also said there is no data linking assertions made by Texas officials alleging harm to livestock as a result of escalating corn prices to the RFS. "Increased corn prices are caused by numerous factors, including record export demand fueled by a weak dollar, record domestic feed use, a flood of speculative money into the commodities markets, and dramatic price increases for crude oil and energy."

The AFBF emphasized that implementing the waiver at the first hint of price increases, whether generated from the RFS or not, would be a detriment to the nation's ability to reach original legislative goals.

The EPA, which received Gov. Perry's request on April 25, has 90 days to make a ruling.