Hatch ‘implores’ EPA to reduce ethanol production mandate

Hatch said she should waive the mandate that says 13.2 billion gallons of biofuels have to be produced in 2012, in order to help farmers and ranchers in his home state.

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“The corn-ethanol requirements are placing considerable strain on Utah’s farmers and ranchers during an already difficult season,” Hatch said in a statement Wednesday. “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.”

Hatch cited a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report, which showed that 23 percent of U.S. corn crop yields are in good or excellent condition, but 50 percent are rated as poor to very poor. The year before, 70 percent was rated good or excellent.

“Drought and heat continue to create lower corn production, resulting in economic hardship,” Hatch wrote. “The logic behind RFS was to save both the environment and supplement the economy by utilizing the readily available U.S. resource of corn. However, the same [Energy Independence Securities] Act that was to free us has Utah’s economy in shackles due to the drought.”