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Posted on  

December 22, 2000

NCGA Urges Clinton to Deny California Oxygenate Waiver

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) has joined two other farm groups in urging President Clinton to deny a request by the State of California for a waiver from the oxygenate requirement of the federal Reformulated Gasoline (RFG) program.

In a letter sent today to the president, the NCGA, along with the American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Farmers Union, said: "The scientific evidence presented to EPA thus far does not support California's waiver request. One of the main arguments being used to support the waiver request is that emissions of nitrogen oxides will increase if the waiver is not granted. However, a plain reading of the Clean Air Act reveals that an increase in these emissions would be a violation of the law, and therefore, could not occur."

Farm groups like NCGA have championed California's oxygen requirements as a means of ensuring compliance with the Clean Air Act and increasing the demand for ethanol as a replacement for the previously utilized oxygenate MTBE. MTBE has been found to contaminate ground water and pose other environmental risks.

The NCGA and the other farm groups told President Clinton that the technical and legal grounds for California's request are highly suspect and far from being resolved. "The record clearly shows that California's waiver request is not motivated by an legitimate concern related to the air quality impacts of oxygenates," they said. "EPA should not adopt for the sake of expediency the scientifically flawed assertion by the oil industry that ethanol pollutes."

Earlier this year, the administration announced legislative principles to resolve the MTBE crisis in a comprehensive manner. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee subsequently passed legislation which incorporated most of those principles. "Granting a waiver to California now would undermine that effort, and may preclude a national legislative resolution," the farm groups told Clinton.  


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