A bill to curb biofuels, because of the U.S. food and farm crisis, the false claims for bio-energy, and the intransigence of the Obama Administration, was filed this week in the House of Representatives by a bipartisan foursome of Jim Costa (D-California), Peter Welch (D-Vermont), Bob Goodlatte (R-Virginia) and Steve Womack (R-Arkansas). They were joined by additional Congressmen at a press conference April 10 at the Capitol.
Particularly notable was the statement by Rep. David Valadao (R-Calif), a dairy farmer, who diverted from his written text to say that using food for fuel was "taking food out of the mouths" of those people who don't have enough to eat. He noted not only how much the high grain prices were hurting farm producers (103 of California's 1,600 remaining dairy farms went bankrupt last year), but that they hurt eaters, and that 21% of the people in his district are living in poverty!
The new bill is called "RFS Reform Act." The initiating co-sponsors released a statement yesterday, which stated, "The RFS Reform Act will eliminate corn-based ethanol requirements, cap the amount of ethanol that can be blended into conventional gasoline at 10 percent, and require the EPA to set cellulosic biofuels levels at production levels." Rep. Goodlatte, a former House Agriculture Committee Chairman (2003-2007) and Vice-Chairman (2011-2012), also introduced the "RFS Elimination Act," which, he said yesterday, is to "give relief to livestock and food producers as well as consumers..." by restoring a "free market" instead of Federally-backed biofuels.
The "RFS Reform Act" and the "RFS Elimination Act" will be referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, at which a hearing is expected soon.
Rep. Costa said at the press conference, "The debate is over; the Renewable Fuel Standard as we know it is not sustainable. I have heard just this week from Foster Farms, poultry producers in my district [San Joaquin Valley], that their price of doing business has jumped by over $250 million annually in the last 5 years because of skyrocketing corn prices. Putting food into our fuel tanks is hurting dairymen and -women, livestock producers, consumers, and businesses across the nation. We can't afford this. It's time for real, wholesale change."
This legislative initiative comes after the Obama Administration, over the last eight months, has snubbed an unprecedented wave of appeals from nine state governors and dozens of farm and food associations, to lift the Federal corn-for-ethanol mandate.
The 40 organizations backing the new bill included all the major farm commodity and food processing associations, as well as many others. Among them are, the Milk Producers Council, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, the National Chicken Council, the American Meat Institute, and the National Turkey Federation.