On Tuesday, along with 20 other Senators, I wrote to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to request more comprehensive testing on ethanol prior to raising the ratio that can be mixed into gasoline. The letter emphasizes that air quality and technical issues should be explored, as well as potential adverse effects on consumers and livestock and poultry producers during these hard economic times. Currently, 10% of U.S. gasoline may be composed of ethanol, and it has been proposed that the amount of ethanol should be increased.

While increased production and use of ethanol has helped advance the goal of energy independence, it has had the unintended consequence of sharply increasing costs for corn and other sources of feed. This in turn has negatively affected beef cattle, dairy and poultry producers.

I believe it is important to fully understand the impact that increasing the use of corn ethanol would have on food costs. Moreover, prior to increasing the percentage of ethanol that can be blended into gasoline, the EPA should study the effects of ethanol on emissions and durability of different types of gasoline-powered engines, particularly those belonging to boats, older vehicles, and even lawn mowers.