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11:28 am CST - April 28, 2008

Posted under On The Record

Statement by Kathleen H. White, Director of the Center for Natural Resources

Published: 04-28-08

On Gov. Rick Perry’s request to waive the federal ethanol mandate

“The Governor is correct to call for at least a partial waiver of the federal mandate for grain-based ethanol.  Our federal government’s policies to subsidize and mandate the ever-expanding supply of ethanol are causing massive distortions in our economy, multi-billion dollar losses to our livestock producers, and severe hardships for Texas families.

“It takes 21 pounds of corn to produce one gallon of ethanol.  One person could be fed for an entire year from the corn that we’re instead cooking for a single pickup tank of E-85.

“This year, the United States will convert 30 to 35 percent of its corn harvest into ethanol.  Federal mandates and subsidies for ethanol production are generating a supply that will be far beyond what the United States is able to use.

“As the Governor noted, global food commodity prices have nearly doubled in the last three years, with corn rising even faster.  Those higher prices are just now starting to show up on our grocery shelves, and Texas consumers are in for real pain unless we quickly move more corn back from our fuel supply to our food supply.

“A 50-percent waiver of the ethanol mandate is a good immediate-term step to alleviate the pain from spiraling food inflation.  But with each new day bringing stories about double- and triple-digit increases in the price of food staples, domestic food rationing, and Third World food riots, the solution will only come when the U.S. Congress wakes up and reverses its mad rush toward ethanol.”

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