The Hagstrom Report

Agriculture News As It Happens


Texas governor asks for RFS waiver

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who in 2008 unsuccessfully petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to waive the Renewable Fuel Standard requirement for ethanol in gasoline, today joined the waiver movement for this year and 2013, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association announced today.

Gov. Rick Perry
Gov. Rick Perry
The governors of Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, New Mexico and North Carolina — major meat-producing states — have already asked EPA to waive the requirement, and the requests from Arkansas and North Carolina started a 30-day comment period this week. EPA must rule on the petitions within 90 days, but that means EPA does not need to issue a ruling before the election.

Meat groups have said that high feed costs are a reason EPA should waive the requirement, and NCBA noted in its release that Texas is the nation's No. 1 cattle producer.

But Obama administration officials have said that waiving the RFS would not lower feed costs in the short term and the administration, which has strongly promoted renewable fuels, seems unlikely to waive the requirement.

Ethanol opponents say the drought is the reason for the new round of requests, but renewable fuels groups say that the elections are also a factor in the new petitions.

The Hill reported Thursday that Monte Shaw, executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, said, “2013 is the last chance to dismantle the RFS before it actually does something, so that means the 2012 election is very important, so they’re doing a lot of things to set it up.

"When the waiver’s denied, and it will be," Shaw said, "you will see statements to the effect of, ‘Oh, we couldn’t even get this changed during a drought.’ ”