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Feathers Fly in Washington Over Corn and Chicken

by 5m Editor
14 May 2008, at 8:52am

US - The use of corn as a vehicle fuel rather than as chicken feed has caused a stir the American capital, Washington.

According tot the Washington Post, the $40 billion chicken industry, along with livestock producers, oil interests, grocers and some environmental and anti-hunger groups are hoping to put up a regulatory blockade to stop the diversion of corn stocks into the brewing of billions of gallons of ethanol for vehicles this year.

"It has never gone up this far, this fast," Richard L. Lobb, a spokesman for the National Chicken Council in Washington, said of the jump in corn prices to $6 a bushel and more, triple what they were two years ago. "We are competing directly with the people who make ethanol, and they are outbidding us for corn."

The Washington Post says that during the past few weeks, groups hurt by the food-vs.-fuel war over the price of corn have sought waivers - including the first official petition from the governor of Texas - from the ethanol mandates that Congress passed as part of last year's energy bill. The exercise illustrates how a victory for one interest group, the corn farmers and ethanol producers, can trigger counter-lobbying by others.

The new law requires the production of 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel - 15 billion gallons of it derived from corn - by 2022. It also gave the Environmental Protection Agency the authority to waive or alter the mandates if they cause severe harm to the economy.

View the Washington Post story by clicking here.

5m Editor