The American Meat Institute joined a number of food and agriculture groups in signing a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) voicing opposition to proposals to increase the levels at which ethanol can be blended into motor gasoline and urging the EPA to subject these proposals to careful analysis.

“We strongly support the development of cellulosic ethanol and other advanced biofuels, as well as policies that will help commercialize biofuels that will reduce our reliance on food and feed to produce fuel,” the letter states. “However, we are opposed to efforts to increase the amount of biofuel blended into our fuel supplies until sustainable biofuel alternatives are commercially available.

The groups ask that EPA not permit gasoline blends that contain more than 10 percent ethanol until:

• EPA completes a lifecycle assessment of the impacts of biofuels on climate change, as required by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 • DOE and EPA complete an assessment of the impacts of intermediate blends on engines and certify that there are no performance, safety, or environmental concerns with raising the ten percent blend level • Cellulosic and advanced biofuels are commercially available throughout the nation. • Congress phases out the ethanol import tariff • The completion of the National Academy of Sciences study required under section 203 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 • The completion of a robust rulemaking process, including a 180 day public comment period that allows the wide variety of stakeholders impacted by this decision to educate the agency on the impact of the intentional and unintended consequences of the proposed change “Investing in cellulosic and advanced biofuels is one way the Administration can help ensure that we are not pitting our energy security policies against our food and climate security policies. We urge you to oppose proposals to increase the amount of biofuel into our fuel supplies until critical studies are completed and sustainable alternatives are commercially available,” the letter concludes.