The Hagstrom Report

Agriculture News As It Happens


BIO, ethanol groups fight efforts to cut RFS

The Biotechnology Industry Organization late last week announced its opposition to efforts to reduce the Renewable Fuel Standard, and joined with ethanol groups to announce the formation of a new council to defend themselves.

BIO President and CEO Jim Greenwood note that 156 members of the House sent Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson a letter urging her to reduce the RFS.

“Some members of Congress want to rush to make long-term changes to federal energy policy – potentially sacrificing future energy security and job growth – in response to current weather conditions,” Greenwood wrote.

“The solution to the drought that they propose is unlikely to provide relief to livestock producers, farmers, or consumers; it could, however, produce unintended consequences for biotech companies developing advanced biofuels and, thus, have a long-term negative impact on consumers and our nation’s ability to develop critical sources of alternative energy,” Greenwood said.

Brent Erickson, executive vice president of BIO’s Industrial & Environmental Sections added that “Undermining the RFS will have a chilling effect on the development of cellulosic feedstocks that are not used for food or feed.”

“The RFS is important for all biofuels, but it is critically important for cellulosic feedstock process development.,” Erickson said. “To undermine the RFS now would wound this feedstock development effort that in the long run is going to help both farmers and ranchers. This aspect is often neglected by the media and is not well understood by cattle ranchers, pork and chicken producers.”

Reps. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., Steve Womack, R-Ark., and Mike McIntyre, D-N.C., organized the letter after a coalition of livestock and poultry groups sent Jackson a petition urging that she grant a full or partial waiver of the RFS.

National Chicken Council President Mike Brown said the groups were urging Jackson to help alleviate tight corn supplies for animals.

“Chicken companies in particular are increasingly being severely impacted by the growing diversion of corn into our gas tanks because of government mandated ethanol programs,” Brown said.

On Friday, eight biofuel industry organizations announced the formation of the Biofuels Producers Coordinating Council to advocate for increased energy security through domestic biofuel production.

The new council includes:
  • Michael McAdams, Advanced Biofuels Association
  • Brooke Coleman, Advanced Ethanol Council
  • Mary Rosenthal, Algal Biomass Organization
  • Brian Jennings, American Coalition for Ethanol
  • Brent Erickson, Biotechnology Industry Organization
  • Tom Buis, Growth Energy
  • Anne Steckel, National Biodiesel Board
  • Bob Dinneen, Renewable Fuels Association.

In a news release sent out by BIO, the groups pledged their support for maintaining the RFS, which they said “sets a path for energy security, reduced reliance on foreign oil, and a cleaner, healthier environment by setting annual standards to increase production and use of biofuels in the United States.”