Home Letter: Bob Goodlatte and Renewable Fuels Standard

Letter: Bob Goodlatte and Renewable Fuels Standard


goodlattefourinIt was with great disappointment that I read your February 5 piece attacking Rep. Bob Goodlatte and his leadership in Congress on such a key issue as the corn ethanol mandate, commonly referred to as the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). The RFS has been an abysmal failure since it was introduced in 2005 as it has distorted markets by driving food ingredient costs higher. These higher costs hurt small businesses like chain restaurants and their guests as well as every consumer who buys food.

As a business owner of restaurants in Harrisonburg and Staunton, I have seen firsthand the damaging effects of the corn ethanol mandate on businesses and families throughout the region. Corn is an important foundation of our country’s food supply chain. It is used as feedstock for cattle, chicken and hogs. As more corn was diverted away from feed and food uses towards fuel in order meet the RFS mandates, the supply of cattle, chicken and hogs in the U.S. stagnated. This contributed to soaring prices of meat products that we all have seen in the grocery store, and in my case, in my restaurants. The impact of the RFS goes beyond meats. As corn prices soared higher, farmers increasingly planted more corn and reduced plantings of other key crops. Inevitably, this has contributed to higher prices for a host of other food ingredients.

In the restaurant business, even the smallest of price increases can impact our bottom line. In the case of the corn ethanol mandate, it is estimated to cost every quick service restaurant approximately $18,000 per year. That may not seem like much, but for me that may be the difference between hiring an additional employee so that we can stay open later or making much needed upgrades to our restaurant. In some cases, this may mean we do not open a new restaurant. All of this is opportunity lost for small businesses and local residents.

The Augusta Free Press’ story presents a one-sided and inaccurate characterization of this debate. It’s not just about the narrow interests of the ethanol industry versus oil companies. The corn ethanol mandate of the RFS affects everyone, and it’s clear that the corn ethanol mandate is a burden to the vast majority of Virginians. I support Rep. Goodlatte and thank him for his leadership in bringing together Democrats and Republicans in a bi-partisan effort to end this failed government mandate. It’s time to put an end to the RFS.

– Letter from Dawson Bremer



Have a guest column, letter to the editor, story idea or a news tip? Email editor Chris Graham at [email protected]. Subscribe to AFP podcasts on Apple PodcastsSpotifyPandora and YouTube.