WASHINGTON – Senate Republicans have asked environmental regulators to use their power to halt the country’s plans to expand ethanol production amid rising food prices.
Twenty-four Republican senators, including presidential candidate Sen. John McCain of Arizona, sent a letter Friday to the Environmental Protection Agency suggesting it waive, or restructure, rules that require a fivefold increase in ethanol production over the next 15 years.
Congress passed a law last year mandating a ramp-up to 15 billion gallons of corn ethanol by 2015 and 36 billion by 2022.
But McCain and other Republicans said those rules should be suspended to put more corn back into the food supply for animal feed and to encourage farmers to plant other crops.
The agency has the power to waive or restructure federal requirements if they cause harm.