Lawmakers push EPA to waive corn ethanol requirement

The EPA administrator can waive the ethanol target in part or in whole if reaching it causes severe economic or environmental harm.

“That provision was written for conditions like the one we experience today,” Womack said.

A pair of corn ethanol trade groups is holding a press conference at noon Thursday in support of the ethanol target.

Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Jim Costa (D-Calif.), who sponsored a bill that would let the EPA reduce the corn ethanol target by as much as 50 percent when corn stocks run low, also implored Jackson to invoke the RFS waiver.

Goodlatte said in a response to a question from E-2 Wire that the bipartisan letter shows momentum exists for his bill, though he did not indicate any specific plans for it.

Both Goodlatte and Costa favor eliminating the corn ethanol portion of the RFS, but want to preserve the part that sets a quota for “next generation” cellulosic biofuel. They say corn ethanol production has raised food prices both domestically and internationally by tying corn production to fuel.

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