Late this summer as the state dealt with severe drought conditions, Gov. Mike Beebe (D) and members of Arkansas federal delegation pressed Environmental Protection Agency officials for a waiver from a renewable fuel standard that required corn-based ethanol in certain fuels.
The EPA denied the waiver on Friday stating that it would have offered little help to Arkansas farmers and groups that had to comply with the requirement.
Beebe, nine other Governors, and 181 members of Congress requested the EPA waiver as drought conditions caused the price of corn to rise, making it a financial hardship to comply with the ethanol fuel standard. The rising cost of corn also impacted feed costs for poultry farmers and others.
The denial of the ethanol waiver for the renewable fuel standard led to reaction from several elected Arkansas officials.
Beebe's office said the Governor was “disappointed” in the outcome, but did not plan to appeal the EPA decision.
U.S. Sens. John Boozman (R) and Mark Pryor (D) both said the EPA decision will have a harmful impact on the state despite federal regulators arguments to the contrary.
“The EPA’s decision makes absolutely no sense,” said Boozman. “These subsidies have an incredibly negative effect on the cost of living for every Arkansan. Arkansans are hurting and overbearing federal agencies like the EPA seem intent on making the wound deeper.”
“I strongly disagree with the EPA’s claim that this waiver will have no impact on our state,” Pryor added. “Their decision will not only cause economic harm for our livestock and poultry producers, but it will also negatively impact consumers and food manufacturers. The EPA should reconsider their decision. Arkansans need relief.”
“The EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standard regulatory rules are another example of how the Obama Administration’s policies are hurting our economy,” said Cong. Tim Griffin (R). “Because of their refusal to grant our state’s ethanol waiver request, hardworking Arkansas farmers, ranchers and consumers will be forced to pay more for the food and supplies they need.”