Ag in the AM: EPA Rejects Ethanol Reduction Request

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DES MOINES, Iowa - The Environmental Protection Agency has rejected a request from several states to relax its ethanol mandates. 

The states argue the drought reduced the corn supply needed for livestock feed creating a burden for farmers with large herds.

Besides livestock farmers, fast food restaurant chains and environmentalists also wanted the ethanol requirements relaxed.

The Illinois Corn Growers Association applauded the EPA decision.

It says U.S. ethanol production has been reduced by more than 800 million gallons of production.

"Corn fields yielded a lot more corn than people thought they might early in the year." said Monte Shaw of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association.

"The ethanol industry will pull back and produce less ethanol, but there will still be enough corn to produce the ethanol and support the livestock that we need."

Two Illinois ethanol plants closed at least temporarily during this time.

The EPA says it understands the frustrations of the groups but it didn't find sufficient economic hardship to warrant any changes.