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Thune Calls on EPA to Oppose Waiving Renewable Fuels Standard

--Renewable Fuels Not Responsible for High Food Prices --

May 8, 2008

Washington, D.C. —  Senator John Thune today joined a bipartisan group of his Senate colleagues in sending a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Stephen Johnson, urging him to resist calls to partially or completely waive the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). The RFS has been erroneously cited as the leading factor in the global rise in food prices.

"There are many factors driving the rise in food costs around the globe," said Thune. "Increased demand in developing countries, weather conditions around the world, and record high oil prices are the major reasons that food costs have gone up.

"The rising prices of corn and soybeans as a result of increased biofuel production have little or no impact on the increased costs of rice and wheat, which are much more responsible for overall food costs."

Renewable fuels industry analysts project that if the RFS were waived, national-average gasoline prices would increase by more than $1 per gallon.

"Ethanol is being vilified, but the real culprit behind food costs is $120 per barrel oil. If fuel prices are further increased by easing the RFS, we will not only erode efforts to reduce our nation's dangerous dependence on foreign sources of oil but consumers will certainly see food prices go even higher as farmers struggle to produce crops with $4.50 gasoline and even more expensive diesel," said Thune.

Click here to view a PDF of the letter to EPA Administrator Johnson.