Fast food interests join foreign oil interests in scapegoating America’s Renewable Fuel Standard. Brent Erickson, executive vice president of the Biotechnology Industry Organization’s Industrial & Environmental Section, today released the following statement in response to a report on the Renewable Fuel Standard released by the National Council of Chain Restaurants:

“The latest attack on America’s renewable energy policy blames biofuel for food cost increases while ignoring the 300-pound barrel of imported oil in the room. The U.S. Energy Information Administration has documented the correlation between oil prices and inflation, including food prices. Yet, the report by the National Council of Chain Restaurants attempts to shift consumers’ attention from this real world impact to projected impacts from renewable fuels.

“The Environmental Protection Agency recently completed an exhaustive analysis of the Renewable Fuel Standard, finding that in 89 percent of 500 modeled scenarios the law had no impact on demand for ethanol and by extension corn and food prices. EPA further emphasized that the outcomes of the other 11 percent of scenarios were both ‘very unlikely’ and small. The NCCR report modeled only two scenarios that were both higher than the average impact found by EPA. The conclusion of EPA’s study is clear – the market is allocating corn to its most highly valued use, which is to reduce this nation’s reliance on expensive imported oil.

“The fact is that the high price of oil creates demand for lower-cost ethanol. And farmers, whose production costs are impacted by petroleum prices, must seek new markets for their products in order to recoup costs.

“The RFS has encouraged U.S. companies to make significant investments in accelerating development of new technologies and building new facilities for advanced and cellulosic biofuels. The first commercial gallons of cellulosic biofuel were registered with EPA this year and new large-scale biorefineries are currently being commissioned. Dismantling the RFS, as NCCR seeks, will halt this progress toward tomorrow’s solutions for energy security.”