The EPA is considering a proposal from the governor of Texas to slash the amount of ethanol that oil companies are required to blend into gasoline to meet quotas, the New York Times reports. Gov. Rick Perry is calling for the EPA to cut the ethanol mandate in half, from 9 billion to 4.5 billion gallons, arguing that billions of bushels of corn should be used to feed livestock instead.
Competition for corn has led to a sharp increase in feed costs. A coalition of food, livestock, and environmental groups supports Perry’s petition, but farmers and biofuel advocates argue that it would be the beginning of the end for ethanol as a viable alternative fuel. “Where are you going to find the oil to replace 9 billion gallons of ethanol?” asked an industry expert. But Perry said: “When you find yourself in a hole, you have to quit digging—and we are in a hole.”