* Mandate doing more harm than good-Perry
* Perry unsuccessfully pushed for waiver in 2008
* Supplies tighter this year than 2008-Perry
By Ayesha Rascoe
WASHINGTON, Aug 24 Texas Governor Rick Perry on
Friday threw his support behind calls to suspend the U.S.
government's mandate forcing oil refineries to blend corn-based
ethanol into gasoline.
The Renewable Fuel Standard, which would require about 13.2
billion gallons of ethanol to be mixed with gasoline this year,
is doing more harm than good, Perry said.
"Good intentions and laudable goals are small compensation
to the families, farmers and ranchers who are being hurt by the
federal government's efforts to trade food for fuel," Perry said
in a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Texas is the seventh state to urge EPA to suspend the
mandate as the worst drought in half a century ravages crops and
pushes up feed prices. Not all of the states, including Texas,
have formally petitioned the agency.
Perry led an unsuccessful push for a waiver of the mandate
in 2008 when commodity prices spiked. At that time, the EPA said
Texas had not demonstrated the mandate itself was causing severe
Proponents for easing the mandate, aimed at reducing U.S.
reliance on foreign oil, say such a move is justified by tight
corn supplies this year.
The conditions this year are significantly different from
2008 when he asked for waiver, Perry argued.
Corn production could be substantially less than four years
ago, while requirements for corn-based ethanol production have
climbed sharply, he said.
Ethanol is strongly supported by the renewable-fuels lobby
and by lawmakers and farmers in the U.S. corn belt. Supporters
argue that easing the mandate will not have much impact on food
Ethanol industry groups say the mandate offers some
flexibility for fuel blenders responsible for complying with the
mandate, including the ability to buy bankable credits if
blenders can not buy enough physical ethanol to meet