California's Waiver Request Hurts Farmers, says FB
WASHINGTON, D.C., January 12, 2001 The American Farm Bureau Federation today asked the Clinton administration to deny the state of California's request for a waiver from the requirements of the federal Reformulated Gasoline program.
In a joint letter to President Clinton, AFBF President Bob Stallman and National Corn Growers Association President Lee Klein said that California's need to remove the known water pollutant MTBE from gasoline should not exempt the state from having to use oxygenated fuels to curb air pollution.
"We believe that the scientific evidence presented thus far does not support California's waiver request. The request is fundamentally flawed and cannot pass the scrutiny of a full legislative or regulatory process. It is inspired by a desire to accelerate the removal of MTBE in gasoline," the farm leaders said.
Stallman and Klein said ethanol is a feasible alternative to MTBE that California should be using. "The ethanol industry has the capacity to replace MTBE as a fuel oxygenate and the benefits that will accrue to air quality, rural economies, energy dependence and commodity prices is substantial."
The farm leaders expressed concerns about another pending proposal, the Clinton administration's plan to reduce sulfur in diesel fuel. " ...An overly stringent diesel sulfur standard could unnecessarily harm U.S. agriculture and rural America, particularly during a time of continuing economic hardship that threatens the survival of many farmers and ranchers," they asserted. Supply disruptions, higher diesel prices for farm users and farm co-op refineries shutting down could result, they said.
Stallman and Klein said that minor modification to the Clinton proposal would yield clean air benefits without threatening farmers. If the proposed 15 parts-per-million (ppm) sulfur content limit were changed to 50 ppm, it would still represent a 90 percent reduction in diesel sulfur emissions from current levels, they noted.
The farm group leaders also said that if the administration provided incentives for the production of biodiesel as an additive or substitute fuel, it would help achieve the same goal of reduced sulfur emissions.