U.S. EPA Denies Request to Waive RFS Standards to Aid Livestock Producers
Since the first corn-based ethanol production facility became operational, the food industry has faced increased competition for corn. Livestock producers have long argued that the price of corn has risen as result of the increased demand for corn as a fuel (ethanol). The food industry recently lost another battle in the "food vs. fuel" debate as the U.S. EPA denied requests from several states that requested a waiver of the national volume requirements for the renewable fuel standard ("RFS") program based on the effects of the drought on feedstocks (most notably corn) used to produce renewable fuel in 2012-2013. Many livestock producers have argued that droughts in several states have resulted in increased corn prices which has, in turn, resulted in increased livestock production costs. Despite the requests of states and livestock producers, the U.S. EPA determined that the requirements for issuing has not been met. Due to continuing annual volumetric increases for renewable fuel mandated by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, there will likely be continued competition between the food and energy sectors for corn.