Free-Market, Hunger Groups Ask EPA to Revisit Ethanol Decision

WASHINGTON, MAR. 13, 2013 – The Competitive Enterprise Institute and ActionAid USA, an anti-hunger group, have petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider its claim that its ethanol fuel programs do not reduce global food supplies. The groups filed a formal Request for Reconsideration with the agency on Monday.

In October 2011, CEI and ActionAid USA filed a complaint with EPA under the Data Quality Act that contended the agency had incorrectly downplayed the effect of its ethanol fuel programs on world hunger. The complaint was based on a 2011 study which found ethanol fuel programs worldwide had led to nearly 200,000 additional deaths per year from malnutrition, because of the diversion of grain stocks to ethanol fuel production. This diversion removes corn from the food cycle, which causes grain prices to increase worldwide. But as the CEI/ActionAid USA petition points out, EPA’s website materials claim its ethanol programs have only a minimal impact on food prices and consumers.

EPA’s Data Quality rules give the agency 90 days to act on such petitions, but EPA sat on the matter for 14 months before denying the petition in December 2012.

“EPA seems interested only in serving the ethanol lobby and in polishing its own image, rather than acknowledge the devastating impact of these programs on world hunger,” said Sam Kazman, general counsel for CEI. “And EPA’s 14-month delay in responding is beyond belief. EPA has become expert at diverting not only corn but honesty as well. It’s all the more ironic that our reconsideration request was filed during Government in the Sunshine Week.”