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AGRIBUSINESS: RFS opponents launch new Hill campaign

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A coalition of opponents of the Renewable Fuel Standard held a telephone news conference today to announce they are launching a new campaign to convince Congress to repeal the Renewable Fuel Standard.

During the call, the members of the coalition said that the fuels required under the RFS cause higher food prices in developed countries and higher consumer fuel prices in the United State and are dangerous for engines of various types.

Members of the coalition said they would soon hold briefings for congressional staff on Capitol Hill.

Groups participating in the briefing today were ActionAid, the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, the Environmental Working Group, Farm EconLLC. the National Marine Manufacturers Associaton and Taxpayers for Common Sense.

Kristen Sundell of ActionAid said that the use of corn for ethanol in the United States forces developing countries to pay higher prices for imported corn. Sundell said that on a recent trip to Guatemala she had seen corn converted to sugar and palm oil production to meet biofuels needs.

Sundell acknowledged that the corn used for ethanol is not the same that is used for human consumption, but said that when corn prices rise the corn grown for human consumption is sometimes used for feed. In addition, she said the RFS cancels out U.S. spending for food aid and agricultural development in some countries.

Charlie Devna of the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers said that Congress should repeal the RFS because it is “burdening consumers.”

Devna said that, while the Environmental Protection Agency has declared E15 safe for car and engines, “independent” studies have shown it to be unsafe in many cases. He also said that EPA has shown a preference for ideology over science in its policymaking.

The coalition is launching its campaign just as the Renewable Fuels Association and the National Biodiesel Board are beginning their meetings in Las Vegas this week.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is scheduled to speak at both meetings.