Chicken Industry Disappointed by EPA Inaction

US - The National Chicken Council says the industry is "deeply disappointed" that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has refused to grant a waiver of the ethanol mandate that is diverting billions of bushels of corn from livestock and poultry feed into motor fuel.
calendar icon 12 August 2008
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"We are deeply disappointed that EPA has failed to heed the very clear signs that the food-to-fuel policy is causing severe harm to the economy," said George Watts, president of the National Chicken Council, the trade association for the nation&squote;s chicken production, processing and marketing companies.

"When food prices are rising and chicken companies are losing money because of high feed costs, it is outrageous that the federal government continues to require and even to subsidize the diversion of corn from the food supply into the fuel supply," Watts said. Federal law allows EPA to grant a waiver of the ethanol mandate if needed.

Mr Watts said Congress needs to step in to reform the ethanol program, which consists of a mandate that fuel blender must add a fixed amount of alternative fuel to motor gasoline every year; on a tax credit to blenders for each gallon of alternative fuel added; and on a tariff to limit the amount of cheaper foreign ethanol imported into the country.

"Congress created this mess and Congress ought to fix it," he said.

NCC estimates that higher feedgrain prices due largely to the ethanol program have cost companies in the broiler chicken industry more than $6 billion since October 2006.

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