Image From ..ecowatch.org
It does not happen often, but occasionally, the jackals who populate Congress might come up with a good idea. And that has happened.
Reuters reported earlier this month that as the worst drought in 50 years destroys the midwestern corn crop, 25 senators urged the Environmental Protection Agency to cut the mandate that requires oil refiners and fuel blenders to add ethanol to gasoline.
The senators asked the EPA to adjust the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) that requires fuel blenders to mix 13.2 billion gallons of ethanol into gasoline this year.
Unfurtunately, by current law the mandate rises steadily until peaking at 15 billion gallons per year in 2015 and holding at that level through 2022. And rightfully, the 25 senators taking action (why only 25?) blame the mandate for raising the price of corn, which is the main feedstock for U.S. ethanol refining and threatens to increase costs for livestock producers. That translates into higher food costs for consumers and increasingly reduces the potency of gasoline and fuel efficiency of automobiles.
Right now 40 percent of the U.S. corn crop is now used to make ethanol and there are some byproducts of the process that are used to feed livestock too.
"Adjusting the corn-ethanol mandate of the RFS can offer some relief from tight corn supplies and high prices," said the senators, including Ben Cardin (D-Maryland) and Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma). And naturally, none of the 25 senators are from a major corn-growing state where the RFS subsidy is viewed as an entitlement written in stone that cannot be adjusted when common sense would otherwise do so.
Reuters says that as the drought threatens crops, the call to reform the RFS is growing louder. Just weeks ago, nearly one-third of the lawmakers in the 435-member U.S. House of representatives signed a letter urging the EPA to ease the mandate.
The EPA, which has the authority to to adjust the RFS on its own, did not comment on the letter and has not yet taken any action. And, legislation to adjust or eliminate the mandate is stalled in election-year gridlock, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Please, let your representatives hear what you think.