Wednesday, June 19, 2013

"EPA biofuel rule: energy solution or economic burden?" The Christian Science Monitor

"The brewing controversy has pit biofuel advocates and the EPA against the oil industry and fuel manufacturers who say the standards impose an unnecessary economic burden on consumers. Fueling cars with corn also has significant consequences for agriculture, putting upward pressure on food prices."

"By requiring refiners to produce a product that consumers can’t use and don’t want, it is only logical that this constriction of the market will increase fuel prices, causing economic damage," Rep. James Lankford (R) of Oklahoma said in prepared remarks. "Because of the over-reliance on food-based ethanol as a renewable fuel, the RFS has a negative impact on our food supply and security."

"The increasing demand for corn ethanol has upended agriculture markets. When the RFS was first created in 2005, ethanol made up about 14 percent of the country's corn production, according to a May 2013 report from the USDA. By 2012, that level had increased to roughly 42 percent. The growing focus on corn for energy has contributed to a 40 percent rise in crop prices between 2001 and 2012."

"EU votes on crucial cap on biofuels made from food crops" The Guardian

"Ahead of this week's votes, Olivier De Schutter, the UN special rapporteur on the right to food, wrote a letter (pdf) to the commission, member states and MEPs that was highly critical of EU biofuels policy. He is concerned that EU policy creates incentives for land leases or acquisitions, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, in which the rights of current land users are inadequately protected."

"The land and water resources of the countries concerned should serve, in the first instance, the realisation of the right to food of the local populations; these populations should not be forced to compete against EU consumers, whose purchasing power is vastly higher," said De Schutter.

"De Schutter said biofuels had pushed up food prices, with estimates that, by 2020, EU biofuel targets could ramp up the agricultural price of vegetable oils by 36%, maize by 22%, wheat by 13% and oilseeds by 20%. Another concern is that biofuels favour large-scale industrial models of agriculture that appear to offer limited benefits to local populations, particularly smallholder farmers."

"Food fight: White Castle vs biofuels" SmartPlanet

By  | June 17, 2013
U.S. chain restaurants and a group of congressmen are launching an assault against biofuels on the grounds that fuel produced from crops like corn are pushing up food prices.
At a press conference on Capitol Hill this Thursday, the president of burger chain White Castle will join the owner of a Wendy’s franchise and other meat movers to demand the repeal of the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
The RFS requires transportation fuels to contain a minimum complement of renewables. That includes ethanol which is produced from corn, a crop that has long fed the cattle that the food industry turns into burgers and steaks that groups like White Castle and Wendy’s sell.
In a media advisory announcing the Thursday press conference, the National Council of Chain Restaurants (NCCR) said:
“The federal RFS mandate drastically manipulates the corn marketplace and increases commodity and food costs across the supply chain – from farmers and chain restaurants to consumers and diners. NCCR, along with other coalition partners and Members of Congress, will hold a press conference to launch ‘Feed Food Fairness: Take RFS Off the Menu.’ “
Speakers will include Lisa Ingram, president of White Castle; Mark Behm, who operates some 61 Wendy’s outlet in Michigan; Steve Foglesong, a cattle producer and the former chair of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association; Robert J. Green, executive director of of the NCCR; and Congressmen Bob Goodlatte, a Republican from Virginia, and Jim Matheson, a Democrat from Utah.
White Castle almost certainly has the distinction of being the country’s oldest burger chain, dating back as early as 1916 in Wichita, Kan., over two decades before McDonalds started in San Bernardino, Calif.
To this day, White Castle confounds some meat eaters and thrills others by offering square-shaped burgers rather than round ones. Whatever form consumers prefer, White Castle and its fellow meat marketers are hoping to take a bite out of the renewable fuel forces that they say are pushing up prices.