Livestock and poultry industries join calls for hearing on RFS

Source: Amanda Peterka • E&E  • Posted: Thursday, December 8, 2011

The livestock and poultry industries have joined the push for a key Senate committee to hold a hearing on the renewable fuel standard.

The hearing is needed to examine the impact of the standard on domestic feed grain supplies and markets, a coalition of trade groups wrote in a letter to Senate Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and ranking member James Inhofe (R-Okla.).

“We remain concerned over the continued pressure on grain supplies and the impact this is having on the bottom line and risk management strategies of livestock and poultry producers,” wrote the 16-member coalition, which includes the National Pork Producers Council, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the National Chicken Council and various state dairy associations.

The livestock and poultry groups cited a recent U.S. EPA finding of $9 million worth of fraudulent renewable energy credits. They also pointed to a National Academy of Sciences study from earlier this year that found diverting crops like corn and soybeans to biofuels production has strained livestock feed and other agricultural commodities.

The standard requires that the country produce 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels by 2022 with a large portion coming from advanced biofuels.

“We are concerned with recent reports that indicate a growing interest in congressional efforts to revise the definition of advanced biofuels that would allow corn-based ethanol to qualify for the entire 36 billion gallon RFS,” the coalition wrote.

Last week, agriculture, green and conservative spending groups began the push for a hearing on the RFS, citing in a letter to the committee leaders the “impacts of the renewable fuel standard on the environment, food price volatility and the economy.” They also relied on the NAS study’s conclusions (E&E Daily, Dec. 1).

The Renewable Fuels Association criticized the groups Monday for citing the NAS study, saying it did not provide “definitive conclusions” about the effect of biofuels on the environment. In their own letter, the association told committee leaders to ignore calls for hearings (E&E Daily, Dec. 6).