Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) introduced legislation to freeze the mandate to produce corn-based ethanol at this year’s level of 9 billion gals.

Hutchison said, “The ethanol mandate is clearly causing unintended consequences on food prices for American consumers. Freezing the mandate is in the best interests of consumers, who cannot afford the increasing prices at the grocery store due to the mandate diverting corn from food to fuel.”

Other senators joining Hutchison as cosponsors include: John McCain (R-AZ), John Cornyn (R-TX), Wayne Allard (R-CO), John Barrasso (R-WY), Susan Collins (R-ME), Jim DeMint (R-SC), Elizabeth Dole (R-NC), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Ted Stevens (R-AK), and John Sununu (R-NH). The energy legislation signed into law last year establishes a mandate of 15 billion gals. by 2015.

Meanwhile, Texas cattlemen are continuing their efforts to help Texas Gov. Rick Perry convince the Environmental Protection Agency to implement a 50% waiver from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) mandate for ethanol produced from grain. Jim Schwertner, president and CEO of Capitol Land and Livestock, followed up his first letter to cattlemen (May 9 BEEF Cow-Calf Weekly) with a second letter this week asking for comments in support of Perry’s waiver request.

Schwertner says comments can be posted at under the “Take Action” button.
-- P. Scott Shearer, Washington, D.C. correspondent and Burt Rutherford