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Ethanol mandate reform bill introduced in House

Reps. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., Jim Costa, D-Calif., Steve Womack, R-Ark., and Peter Welch, D-Vt. introduced the Renewable Fuel Standard  Reform Act on April 10 to help ease concerns created by the ethanol mandate and protect consumers, energy producers, livestock and poultry producers, food manufacturers, retailers and the U.S. economy.

Reps. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., Jim Costa, D-Calif., Steve Womack, R-Ark., and Peter Welch, D-Vt. introduced the Renewable Fuel Standard  Reform Act on April 10 to help ease concerns created by the ethanol mandate and protect consumers, energy producers, livestock and poultry producers, food manufacturers, retailers and the U.S. economy.  

“I commend Congressmen Goodlatte, Costa, Womack and Welch for their leadership in introducing this legislation that will provide much needed relief to U.S. chicken producers and family farms that raise chickens,” said National Chicken Council President Mike Brown.  “After the Environmental Protection Agency’s refusal last fall to grant a waiver from the Renewable Fuel Standard in the face of the worst drought since the 1950s, it is abundantly clear the Renewable Fuel Standard is broken and needs to be reformed.”

The legislation eliminates the conventional biofuels mandate, beginning in 2014, and rescinds the requirements of blending up to 15 percent ethanol into the fuel supply.

Brown noted that since the Renewable Fuel Standard was enacted, chicken producers alone have incurred $35 billion in cumulative additional feed costs.

“We have witnessed a dozen poultry companies file for bankruptcy, be sold or simply close their doors, due in large part to the extreme volatility and record high cost of corn associated with ethanol’s insatiable demand,” he said. 

“Chicken producers are certainly not anti-corn; and we’re not even anti-ethanol. What we are against is a government mandate that artificially inflates the price of corn, picks winners and punishes losers among those who depend on it.  The Renewable Fuel Standard Reform Act seeks to level this playing field by embracing free market principles,” Brown concluded.

Other meat and poultry groups joined the National Chicken Council in supporting the new bill.

“The Renwable Fuel Standard cost the turkey industry $1.9 billion in increased feed expenses last year,” said Joel Brandenberger, president of the National Turkey Federation. “For this reason, the National Turkey Federation believes the introduction of Renewable Fuel Standard Reform Act by Reps. Goodlatte, Costa, Womack and Welch is a strong step in the right direction. We appreciate our champions for standing up against this misguided ethanol policy that has cuased severe economic harm to our industry and the country.”

J. Patrick Boyle, president and CEO of the National Meat Institute also applauded the four Congressmen.

“It is clear that the Renewable Fuel Standard is a failed policy that has driven up the price of corn to record levels and put a strain on the entire meat and poultry production chain. For years, the American Meat Institute has called for a renewable fuels policy that doesn’t pit energy against food production,” Boyle said.

Other organizations sharing their support of the new legislation include the Poultry Federation, the American Frozen Food Institute, the National Restaurant Association, the North American Meat Association, the California Poultry Federation, the Chicken and Egg Association of Minnesota, the Indiana State Poultry Association, the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association, the North Carolina Poultry Federation, the Texas Poultry Federation and the Virginia Poultry Federation.

Also on April 10, Rep.Womack and Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif., introduced a separate bill, the Renewable Fuel Standard Amendments Act, which would solely zero-out corn from the Renewable Fuel Standard.  The National Chicken Council also supports this legislation as another vehicle to help alleviate the economic harm caused by the federal government’s misguided ethanol policy.

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