Another Gov. Supports Waiver, Growth Energy Dismisses Claims

Another Gov. Supports Waiver, Growth Energy Dismisses Claims

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell joins a group of five other governors officially petitioning the EPA for an RFS waiver.

As another governor backs a waiver of the Renewable Fuels Standard, Growth Energy fires back with a letter to governors who also support a waiver, explaining "misinformation" contained in waiver requests.

The RFS, a government production mandate for ethanol, has come under much scrutiny as some livestock and other industry groups think decreasing corn supplies will not be able to satisfy demand from both the feed and the ethanol industry. However, ethanol supporters and some grain groups support the RFS, explaining that they think an RFS waiver will have little effect on corn prices.

Drought damaged corn has sparked a hot debate between the ethanol and livestock industries.

Growth Energy, an industry group that supports the RFS, released a letter Tuesday outlining their position. Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis and Co-Chairman Gen. Wesley Clark (Ret.) signed the letter, which was addressed to Gov. Mike Beebe of Arkansas and copied to Gov. Beverly Perdue, N.C.; Gov. Rick Perry, Texas; Gov. Nathan Deal, Ga.; and Gov. Susana Martinez, N.M. All five governors have formally filed petitions with the EPA for a waiver of the RFS.

Growth Energy's letter explained that co-products from ethanol production were not factored into governors' claims, and says there are many important facts to clarify surrounding the debate. Further, the letter equated an RFS waiver to a grain embargo.

"The end result of a waiver, preventing the use of corn in ethanol is the equivalent of a domestic grain embargo. Farmers recall well the domestic grain embargos of earlier decades – they placed extraordinary financial hardships our family farmers. Let us not forget that the corn crop belongs to the corn farmers first and foremost, not to the poultry and livestock industries, and dictating who they can sell it to is a violation of the inherent freedom of a capitalistic marketplace," the letter said.

Meanwhile, on Monday, Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia also petitioned the EPA for a waiver of the RFS, explaining that the RFS causes economic harm to the livestock and poultry regions in Virginia. Gov. McDonnell said that though the drought is an underlying factor, the RFS requirement is causing direct harm.

Gov. McDonnell explained that the RFS was "further depleting already severely stressed grain supplies." He went on to say that additional negative impacts on other economic sectors may appear as the drought continues.

"Altogether, economic harm is being experienced by Virginia's livestock and poultry production regions and important economic sectors in the state as a direct result fo the implementation of the applicable volume requirements of the RFS," McDonnell said. "This harm could be alleviated by a full waiver of the RFS in 2012 and 2013."

National Chicken Council President Mike Brown said he supported the efforts of Gov. McDonnell, and agreed that the RFS was resulting in severe economic harm.

"Congress gave the EPA administrator the authority to act in a situation such as this to prevent a bad situation from becoming worse," Brown said. "I join Governor McDonnell in asking immediately for a full, one-year waiver from the RFS."

Read more about the RFS debate:

EPA Issues Request for Comment on RFS

USDA Estimates Shake Up RFS Debate

Renewable Fuels Standard, Biofuels Continue to Take Hits

Senators Support RFS Waiver

Lawmakers Join Livestock Groups In RFS Debate

RFS Drought Debate Continues

RFS Questioned As Livestock, Ethanol Producers Butt Heads

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