Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad urged the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to retain the Renewable Fuel Standard, which is the basis for the demand for ethanol.
Livestock interests, angered by high corn prices and blaming ethanol and its use of about 40 percent of the nation’s corn crop, have asked the EPA to waive the mandate.
In his letter, Branstad said “a decision by EPA to waive the RFS would signal that U.S. renewable fuels policy is risky.”
The mandate, originally passed by Congress in 2005, will require that the U.S. use up to 13 billion gallons of ethanol this year, about 10 percent of the nation’s total gasoline consumption.
Livestock interests have complained that the mandate drives up corn prices, which have reached a record $8.42 per bushel this summer because of the drought. Corn closed down 4 cents per bushel at $8.34 Wednesday on the Chicago Board of Trade.
“While the drought has presented livestock producers with challenges, a waiver to the RFS is not an appropriate response,” Branstad said.
Iowa is the leading producer of ethanol, with 41 refineries that in 2011 generated about 3.7 billion gallons of the biofuel and about $15 billion in revenue.