Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) introduced this week a bill that would link the corn ethanol production mandate under the Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) to the amount of U.S. corn supplies. The bill creates a  process so that when USDA reports on U.S. corn supplies towards the end of each year, based upon the ratio of corn stocks-to-expected use, there could be a reduction made to the RFS mandate for corn ethanol.

“Domestic food production is reaching a state of crisis driven by the increasing cost of inputs, like corn, so that poultry and other food producers have to compete with industries that are operating under unfair government ethanol productions mandates.  My legislation offers a simple change to the Renewable Fuel Standard that will help provide our domestic food producers access to corn,” Senator Cardin said.  “This is a common sense solution to make sure that we have enough corn supplies to meet all of our corn demands.”

The bill provides that, once a year, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will make an official determination of the Renewable Fuels Standard corn ethanol mandate for the following calendar year, based on the USDA’s November 30 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimate report, to determine the U.S. corn stocks-to-use ratio. The administrator shall provide for a waiver for the RFS for the following calendar year according to the calculated stocks-to-use ratio as directed.  Such a waiver, if required, shall be included in EPA’s Federal Register notice regarding the RFS for the following calendar year.  The required waiver, if any, will take effect January 1 of the new calendar year.

“I understand the important role ethanol production will play in helping our nation achieve greater energy security. However, the nurturing and growth of our domestic biofuels industry must not come at the expense of our domestic food supply.  We cannot sacrifice U.S. food security for energy security,” Senator Cardin said.