By TENNILLE TRACY
WASHINGTON -- Drought conditions continue to wither corn
harvests throughout the Midwest, moving US officials on Tuesday
to lower 2012 ethanol production forecasts by more than 3%.
The Energy Information Administration said it reduced
ethanol production estimates from 900,000 bpd to 870,000 bpd, a
reduction of 3.3%.
The agency says it expects ethanol production to recover in
the second half of 2013.
As corn prices increase, several US lawmakers have urged the
Environmental Protection Agency to
ease a federal requirement for ethanol use in gasoline, known as
the renewable fuel standard.
In a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson last week,
more than 150 House lawmakers said the renewable fuel standard
creates competition for corn, hiking up prices and hurting
cattle ranchers and food manufacturers.
Livestock and poultry producers have called for a waiver of
the renewable fuel standard in light of the drought.
Ethanol producers are rejecting
calls for relaxing the renewable fuels standard.
In a statement last week, Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis said it
is irresponsible to blame ethanol for a lack of
rain. Buis said the market will adjust to changing
We have never run out of corn and this year will be no
different, he said.
In addition to lowering 2012 forecasts, the EIA said ethanol production fell from 920,000
bpd for the week ending June 8 to 809,000 bpd for the week
ending July 27.
Dow Jones Newswires