Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell is urging the President and Congress to temporarily waive the federal Renewable Fuel Standard and lift a 54-cents-per-gallon tariff on imported ethanol, blaming the increase in food prices on corn ethanol.
Texas Governor Rick Perry earlier requested that the US Environmental Protection Agency grant a national 50% waiver from the federal renewable fuel standard (RFS) mandate for ethanol produced from grain because of rising grain costs. The RFS currently requires 9.0 billion gallons of renewable fuel in 2008. (Earlier post.)
Governor Rell also called on Congress and the President to pass a second, energy-related stimulus package to help families keep up with food and energy costs.
I recognize that ethanol is an increasingly important component of the nation’s efforts to decrease its dependence on foreign oil imports and improve air quality, and I value these efforts. However, given the current crisis, I believe a temporary waiver is in order and will not significantly hinder energy independence or environmental improvement programs.
The tariff is a major disincentive to imports of ethanol. Especially since refiners have turned to ethanol in lieu of additives such as MTBE, virtually all of the ethanol used in motor fuels has been domestically produced. Importing less-expensive ethanol from producers such as Brazil, Mexico and Jamaica could reduce gasoline prices and ease domestic demand, but because of the tariff those potential savings have not been achieved.—Governor Rell