The food vs. fuel debate over ethanol continues, this time through the actions of a handful of U.S. states that are asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to lift – temporarily, at least – the rules that require a "large share" (to use Reuters' words) of the corn crop in America to be used to make ethanol. Instead, says Georgia, the latest state to join the chorus, the corn should be used to feed chickens to counteract the effects of the drought affecting America this summer. New Mexico said something similar, but with cattle in the starring role.
Despite recent reassurances from the Renewable Fuels Association that the drought would not raise food prices, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal has written a letter to the federal government that says, in part, "the unprecedented drought experienced in major crop areas of the country, especially throughout extensive areas of the Midwest and South, has significantly decreased crop yields." Reuters writes that Deal calculates the extra cost to poultry farmers in Georgia at $1.4 million a day, thanks to the double-whammy of the drought and biofuel requirements. The EPA doesn't have to decide on the waiver request until November, so expect this fight to continue.