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Ethanol waiver comment period ends today as groups release competing RFS studies

The Environmental Protection Agency comment period on the request of several governors to waive the Renewable Fuel Standard ends today, and two groups released competing studies Wednesday on the strengths and weaknesses of the standard.

The EPA is expected to make its decision on the waiver request by Nov. 11.

Waiving the Renewable Fuel Standard in 2013 could result in higher net feeding costs for livestock and poultry producers, according to a new analysis conducted by Cardno-ENTRIX and commissioned by the Renewable Fuels Association.

“The study found that if a waiver of the RFS did reduce biofuel output, trivial corn price reductions would be partially or fully offset by increased prices for other feed ingredients like distillers grains and soybean meal,” the RFA said.

Ethanol has cost corn-importing countries $11.6 billion in higher prices for corn importing over a period of six years and $6.6 billion of that was in developing nations, according to a study released Wednesday by ActionAid USA and based on research conducted by Tufts University scholars.

The report, “Fueling the Food Crisis: The Cost to Developing Countries of U.S. Corn Ethanol Expansion,” looked at countries that import the majority of their food, particularly corn from the United States, and it found that North Africa and Central America be at the highest risk from ethanol expansion in the United States.

The study was released Wednesday at a joint news conference held by ActionAid, Timothy Wise, director of the research and policy program at the Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University, the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the National Turkey Federation.

Separately, Tufts also released a working paper titled “The Cost to Developing Countries of U.S. Corn Ethanol Expansion.”