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EPA rejects request for ethanol waiver

Nov. 17, 2012 at 1:07 PM

WASHINGTON, Nov. 17 (UPI) -- About 240 million U.S. vehicles will still be required to use ethanol-spiked gasoline despite the summer's drought, the Environment Protection Agency said.

A powerful contingent comprised of eight governors and nearly 200 members of Congress had asked the EPA for a waiver on the Renewable Fuel Standard that mandated a percentage of fuel be comprised of renewable ethanol.

The Detroit News reported Saturday that Congress will likely revisit the issue, but for now the EPA said it did not agree there would be severe "economic harm" if the ethanol standards are maintained.

The decision is likely to support high prices for corn, which should help corn farmers. However prices are likely to rise for feedlots that buy corn for animal feed and for consumers, as the price of meat products may increase.

"We recognize that this year's drought has created hardship in some sectors of the economy, particularly for livestock producers. But our extensive analysis makes clear that congressional requirements for a waiver have not been met and that waiving the RFS will have little, if any, impact," said Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Air and Radiation.

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