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Texas Governor Calls Ethanol Mandate “Misguided”

April 28, 2008 05:00 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Rising food prices in Texas have led the state’s governor to seek a waiver on meeting federal standards for ethanol production.

30-Second Summary

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Texas Governor Rick Perry (R) asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a partial waiver on the Renewable Fuel Standard, which requires a blend of 7.8% ethanol in all gasoline. Perry believes the measure will cause food prices to drop.

The Renewable Fuel Standard of 2005 was conceived to combat rising fuel prices and reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil. In December of 2007, the Energy Independence and Security Act increased ethanol production goals to 7.5 billion gallons by 2012.

Governor Perry said, "We appreciate the good intentions behind the push for renewable fuels ... but this misguided mandate is significantly affecting Texans’ family food bill."

Evidence from a Texas A&M study published in April contradicts the governor’s claim saying, “Relaxing the RFS does not result in significantly lower corn prices.”

The Texas Farm Bureau agreed, pointing to oil prices at more than $115 a barrel as the source of the high food prices. It stated, “Distribution, manufacturing and packaging costs—escalated by the price of oil—play a much bigger role in rising food costs than the price of corn.”

World food prices have increased by 45 percent in the last nine months, leading to shortages and riots in Egypt, Haiti and elsewhere.

The Tanzanian president is one of many around the world who have claimed that biofuels production has caused of a food shortage and “a problem of high prices.” India and poor nations in Africa have called on the West to stop diverting so many crops to biofuels.

Headline Links: Texas governor argues for waiver of ethanol mandate

Historical Context: The renewable-fuel standards

Background: Responding to price increases

Opinions & Analysis: Food vs. fuel

‘You can’t eat ethanol’
‘Corn Growers Oppose Texas Ethanol Request’

Related: Rising food prices worldwide

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