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Posted on  

January 9, 2001

Corn Growers Pressure Clinton to Deny California Waiver

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) continues to pressure President Clinton to direct the EPA to deny California's request for a waiver that would exempt the state from the oxygen requirement of the federal Reformulated Gasoline (RFG) program.

Fearing the outgoing Clinton Administration is preparing a last minute political favor for California that could scuttle a key market for ethanol, a coalition of the NCGA and the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) issued statements at a joint press conference on Sunday at the AFBF convention in Orlando, Fla.

"California's waiver request poses a serious threat to water and air quality and to agriculture," said NCGA President Lee Klein, a farmer from Battle Creek, Neb. "If we were dealing with a normal EPA regulatory process, this regulation would have little chance of appearing within the next 30 days. But these are not normal times. During the closing days of an Administration, we have to be very vigilant to prevent 'midnight rules.'"

The NCGA has become even more vocal and visible on California waiver issue in recent weeks. Twice in December Klein sent letters to President Clinton voicing the concerns of its 32,000 members and the more than 300,000 check-off paying farmers. Just after Christmas Klein journeyed to Washington, D.C. to meet with White House staff to discuss the importance of ethanol and the implications of the California waiver.

In his statement at Sunday's AFBF press conference, Klein pointed out that the California waiver request is fundamentally flawed and cannot pass the scrutiny of a full legislative or regulatory process. "California's waiver request isn't motivated by any legitimate concern related to the air quality impacts of oxygenates. Instead, it's prompted by a desire to accelerate the removal of MTBE in gasoline. That's a worthy goal, one that Corn Growers support by urging that ethanol replace MTBE," he said.


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