WASHINGTON – Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe and North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue have joined congressional members and livestock groups in requesting a waiver of the federal ethanol mandate.

Members of Congress and agriculture industry trade groups have asked Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson to waive the Renewable Fuel Standard. The groups have argued that drought conditions are cause for the EPA to adjust the RFS mandate for 2012 to account for a forecast shortage in corn. The US Department of Agriculture has predicted that higher feed prices will slow red meat and poultry production.

“Higher feed costs following the passage of the first RFS in 2005, and the second in 2007, have resulted in a long-term shortage of grain in our nation, especially corn, and are clearly taking a terrible toll on Arkansas’s poultry and animal agriculture, potentially forcing reduced production and job losses and increasing food prices for consumers worldwide," Gov. Beebe said in a letter addressed to Jackson. “While the drought may have trigged the price spike in corn, an underlying cause is the federal policy mandating ever-increasing amounts of corn for fuel.”

Gov. Perdue also sent a letter to Jackson, stating that, “While the severe drought that our nation has experienced is an underlying factor in current economic conditions, the direct harm is caused by the RFS requirement to utilize ever-increasing amounts of corn and soybeans for transportation fuel, severely increasing the costs of producing food and further depleting already stressed grain supplies.”