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Goodlatte talks ethanol with Valley businesses

Congressman Bob Goodlatte on Wednesday completed a two-day tour regarding the impacts of the Renewable Fuel Standard, also known as the ethanol mandate, on local livestock producers, food producers, and other businesses.

The federal government’s subsidization of the ethanol industry has created a domino effect that is hurting consumers. This mandate is being fulfilled by grain ethanol that comes from corn. As corn is diverted for ethanol, the higher cost for these crops is passed on to our nation’s farmers. In turn, consumers see that increased price reflected in the price of food on the grocery store shelves.

“As we confront the reality of tightening corn supplies, especially during this extreme drought, there are real concerns about having enough to satisfy the RFS and the needs of our food producers,” said Goodlatte. “Over the past two days I have met with constituents and businesses alike who expressed their concerns over this foolish policy and their strong desire that the ethanol mandate must be waived.”

Over the span of two days, Congressman Goodlatte visited the following businesses to speak with those who are impacted by the ethanol mandate:

• Coca-Cola Bottling Company (Roanoke)

• Olive Garden Restaurant (Roanoke)

• Staunton Union Stockyard (Staunton)

• Virginia Poultry Growers Cooperative Grain Unloading Station (Harrisonburg)

• Maple Springs Farm (Weyers Cave)

Goodlatte continued, “This tour helps to put a face on the many industries impacted by the ethanol mandate, from farmers and grocery manufacturers right down to the food on your dinner table. While I met with a diverse group of people, they spoke in one voice when they said that unless the ethanol mandate is waived, the ever increasing cost of corn and the diminishing corn crop will further devastate our already struggling economy.”

During the tour, Congressman Goodlatte highlighted the fact that corn has many diverse uses and is used in great volume in both the local and national economy. For instance, the Coca-Cola facility in Roanoke uses 25,000 gallons of corn syrup each day in their production and the Virginia Poultry Growers Cooperative requires one million bushels of corn to sustain their poultry for only eight weeks. As corn supplies drop, forcing prices to increase, it is increasingly difficult for businesses to keep their prices low and affordable.

Last month, the Environmental Protection Agency announced a public comment period on requests from 156 Members of Congress, led by Congressman Goodlatte, and the Governors of Arkansas and North Carolina to waive the ethanol mandate. Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA has the authority to grant a full or partial waiver if implementation of the mandate would severely harm the economy or environment of a state. The EPA has 90 days in which to make a decision. This public comment period will close after October 11, 2012.

“I urge livestock producers, businesses small and large, and others impacted by the ethanol mandate to submit their comments to the EPA as quickly as possible. Something must be done to help protect consumers, producers, and the American economy.”

Augusta Health Augusta Free Press Kris McMackin CPA
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