Group Urges N.J. to Get RFS Waiver

The Sierra Club is calling on N.J. Gov. Jon Corzine to opt out of the federal ethanol mandate, according to a recent press release.

"At a time when variables out of our control -- like flooding in the Midwest, our nation's bread basket -- are contributing to high food costs, we should not be adding to the problem with what we can control," said Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 25 percent of America's corn crop was diverted to produce ethanol in 2007, and 30 to 35 percent of our corn will be diverted in 2008. As a result, corn prices have doubled in the last two years, driving up the cost of basic staples like eggs (69 percent), milk (22 percent), beef (10 percent) and chicken (12 percent). Wheat prices have increased 400 percent in the last year, as a result of farmers converting their fields from wheat to corn. The rising cost of food prices are falling most heavily on N.J.'s lower and middle class families, resulting in record demand for anti-hunger programs.

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 directs refiners to blend 15 billion gallons of corn ethanol and 1 billion gallons of bio-diesel into the nation's fuel supplies by 2015. Congress gave states the power to ask the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to restructure these mandates. The Sierra Club believes the state of New Jersey should join California in seeking the oxygenate waiver for fuels, allowing a reformulation that does not require the use of ethanol.

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