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Virginia Governor McDonnell Asks EPA for Ethanol Waiver

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to suspend the nation’s ethanol requirement, citing high grain prices.

McDonnell follows lawmakers from both political parties who have called for a suspension of the mandate in the wake of the worst U.S. drought in 56 years, prompting the U.S. Agriculture Department to reduce its forecast for this year’s corn crop to 10.779 billion bushels.

The governors of North Carolina, Arkansas, Maryland, Texas, Delaware and Georgia have asked the Obama administration to halt the law, which requires refiners to use 13.2 billion gallons of ethanol this year and 13.8 billion in 2013.

Denatured ethanol for September delivery fell 0.6 cent to $2.58 a gallon at 2:16 p.m. New York time on the Chicago Board of Trade. Prices have gained 17 percent this year.

The EPA asked Aug. 20 for public comments on the waiver requests and said it has 90 days to make a decision.

Growth Energy, an ethanol trade group, sent a letter yesterday to Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe and the heads of the other states who have called for a waiver, saying that the measure isn’t needed.

Texas Governor Rick Perry was unsuccessful in a 2008 petition to the EPA to reduce the requirements.

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