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National Restaurant Association - NRA supports call to repeal government’s corn ethanol mandate

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NRA supports call to repeal government’s corn ethanol mandate

The National Restaurant Association and several other organizations representing foodservice concerns throughout the United States have thrown their support behind recent legislation to eliminate the federal government’s corn ethanol mandate.

Called the Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act, the bill, introduced Dec. 12 by U.S. senators Diane Feinstein, D-Calif.; Tom Coburn, R-Okla.; and Kay Hagan, D-N.C., calls for the repeal of the federal requirement to blend 15 billion gallons of corn ethanol into gasoline a year.

Scott DeFife, the NRA’s executive vice president of policy and government affairs, cited the government’s current requirement as bad for the restaurant industry and the economy in general.

“The Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act would help address the consequences of a fuel mandate that is damaging our economy, driving up food prices at home and abroad, and endangering consumers while failing to achieve the energy independence once promised,” he said.

As Congress debates changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard, which targets the creation of 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels blended into gasoline by 2022, DeFife said more needs to be done to protect the availability and affordability of corn – a vital and component to U.S. food production.

Last month, the NRA said the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to lower the biofuel-blending requirement from 18.15 billion gallons in 2014 to 15 billion gallons by 2015 was “a step in the right direction.”

“While this proposal is a positive step forward, more needs to be done in order to ease pressure on corn and food prices,” DeFife said. ““Food costs are a top business challenge for the restaurant industry, representing about one-third of restaurant costs. As a result, fluctuations in food and commodity prices significantly impact restaurants’ bottom lines.”

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