Nathan Deal, Governor of Georgia, today released a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency asking for a petition of the hotly-debated Renewable Fuels Standard, which mandates ethanol production quotas.
In his letter, Deal wrote, "It is abundantly clear that substantial evidence exists now within the existing reports of USDA regarding expected crop yields and within private sector forecasts of crop yields that current and futures pricing of corn will result in severe economic harm in the poultry and livestock sectors."
Deal also wrote that the state was suffering because of the mandate.
"Georgia is experiencing severe economic harm during this crisis, and important economic sectors in the state are in serious economic jeopardy. This harm is precisely of the type, character and extent that Congress envisioned when it granted EPA authority to waive Renewable Fuel Standard applicable volumes," the letter said.
The National Chicken Council, a proponent of an RFS waiver, also supports Deal's letter.
"I am very pleased that Governor Deal has joined the many other voices and requests that EPA has received in recent weeks to waive the RFS for ethanol, including 14 of 15 members of Georgia's congressional delegation in Washington," said NCC President Mike Brown. "As Governor Deal noted, it is now abundantly clear that severe economic damage has occurred, and will continue, as a result of the RFS' strain on the corn supply that has been exacerbated by the worst drought in more than 50 years."
The petition follows an Aug. 20 EPA issuance of a 30-day public comment period on letters seeking an RFS waiver.
Recent controversy surrounding the RFS stems from uncertainty among livestock groups and others who say there will not be enough corn to go around. Livestock producers cite the drought's impacts for increasing corn prices and diminishing supply.
Livestock producers, along with the governors of Maryland, Deleware, North Carolina, Arkansas and now Georgia have joined together to ask for a waiver of the RFS in light of these recent concerns. A group of U.S. Senators and Representatives also have signed letters indicating support of an RFS waiver.
In a press conference in July, a coalition of livestock groups in conjunction with an agricultural economist released a study that found RFS legislation was causing food price inflation.
However, corn producers say it is impossible to tell if the corn supply will as low as projected because it has not yet been harvested. And, a recent study by Purdue University found that an RFS waiver would likely not provide quick relief from high corn prices and could have little effect on the corn market, unless conditions were ideal for ethanol refineries.
Read more about the RFS debate using the following links:
USDA Estimates Shake Up RFS Debate
Renewable Fuels Standard, Biofuels Continue to Take Hits
Senators Support RFS Waiver
Lawmakers Join Livestock Groups In RFS Debate
RFS Drought Debate Continues
RFS Questioned As Livestock, Ethanol Producers Butt Heads