Rising food prices prompt new ethanol bill

May 14, 2008 at 12:27 PM
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WASHINGTON, May 14 (UPI) -- Republican Policy Committee head Sen. Kay Hutchison, R-Texas, Wednesday said she intends to file a bill to freeze federal ethanol mandates.

Hutchinson plans to file a bill this week, her office said.

Connecting rising food prices to the vast acreage given over to ethanol production, Hutchison plans to call for ethanol production mandates to freeze at the 2008 levels of 9 billion gallons, her office said.

"Last year, 25 percent of America's corn crop was diverted to produce ethanol," a number that "will soar even higher in the years to come," Hutchison wrote recently.

"When the supply of (food) products goes down, the price inevitably goes up."

Earlier in May, Hutchinson and 23 other senators sent a letter to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen Johnson, asking the EPA to consider food inflation concerns when considering requests from states filing for waivers on ethanol mandates.

The Energy Independence and Security Act, signed into law in December 2007, sets a goal of 36 billion gallons of ethanol production by 2022.

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