Renewable Fuel Standard Waiver Requested By Texas Governor

Cows in Texas

photo by Carol Von Canon

I'm sorry if this is getting repetitive for our regular readers: rising corn prices, biofuels pushing people into poverty, meat prices set to increase, does corn-ethanol really increase food prices?

One more public political voice is calling attention to this: Texas Governor Rick Perry. Yesterday, Perry held a news conference explaining why he submitted a request to the US Environmental Protection Agency that the Renewable Fuel Standard requirement for ethanol be reduced by half, from 9 billion gallons to 4.5 billion. Basically, so that the corn that would have been used to make that ethanol can be put to better use as food. For cows.
Corn Should Feed Cows Not Cars: Perry
Quoted by the Environmental News Service , Perry said, "While I have no doubt this mandate was a well-intentioned effort to move our country toward energy independence, it is doing more harm that good and must be modified before our livestock industry suffers permanent damage. Granting this waiver will provide much needed relief to families, while enabling Texas to continue feeding and fueling the nation."

While I understand at least part of Governor Perry's sentiment insofar as feeling for people whose livelihoods are being directly effected by rising corn prices—the fueling the nation part is blatant shilling for the oil industry—perhaps a deeper question needs to be asked.

Food For People First, Then Cattle
Is the dominant way that the United States raises and feeds cattle a sustainable method of doing so, and should we not perhaps reassess the amount of meat consumed by the average person? Could not corn being fed to cattle be put to use feeding people directly, rather than as corn-derived products or as feed for cattle? Yes, I know cattle feed corn isn't the same as the corn you throw on your grill, but I put this forward as a question of land use.

Revisit the RFS Requirements Because of Corn Ethanol Itself, Not the Meat Industry
Governor Perry's statement in explanation of this waiver request is sound in that corn is one of the worst feedstocks for biofuels and a reassessment of D.C.'s love affair with corn ethanol itself is in order, but I entirely fail to see the wisdom of revisiting the RFS requirements solely on the basis of propping up Texas' cattle and oil industry.

The RFS waiver request itself was submitted back in April and the EPA has until July 24 to make a decision.

As meat industry spokespeople lined up in support of Perry, there are plenty of other pithy quotes to deconstruct in the original article. See link below:

via :: ENS
Corn, Ethanol, Food
Ethanol Death Watch as Corn Prices Rocket
Biofuels Have Pushed Thirty Million People Into Poverty: Oxfam
Millions of Acres of Corn Won't Be Knee-High by the Fourth of July: But Meat Prices Will
Common Biofuel Myth: Corn-based Ethanol to Blame for Global Food Shortages
Where Corn is King
More Processing of Food Means Less Price Inflation
Lots Of Ethanol, And More on the Way

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