Who's behind the RFS waiver request?

Published on: 14:00PM Jul 23, 2008
The EPA announced this week it would delay any decision on granting Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s request for a waiver on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The government agency says that given the amount of work remaining to sufficiently answer the Texas request (the EPA received over 15,000 public comments), there is no way it can offer a final decision by the deadline of July 24. It hopes to reach a decision by early August.
Although EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson says the process will remain “fair and open”, and that “no agreements have been made with any party in regard to the substance and timing of the decision on the waiver request,” can the same be said for Gov. Rick Perry’s decision to ask for the RFS waiver in the first place?
According to a story in the Houston Chronicle earlier this month, Perry's waiver request came after the governor met with Texas poultry producer Lonnie "Bo" Pilgrim. Six days after Perry met with Pilgrim in March, Pilgrim donated $100,000 to the Republican Governors Association, which Perry chairs. The businessman also spent more than $9,000 on airfare in June so Perry and three aides could attend a conference in Washington promoting the waiver, according to the Houston Chronicle.
And he donated $25,000 to Perry's political committee about a month after the waiver request was made.
In all fairness, Perry has opposed food-based ethanol production for some time, and his office has denied any connection to Pilgrim's donations, reports the Chronicle. Some of the country's largest grocery manufacturers have joined corn, livestock and poultry producers in a campaign against ethanol, blaming the motor fuel additive for rising grocery prices.