Last Friday, the EPA announced that it would not waive the Renewable Fuel Standards that were enacted in 2005 and expanded in 2007. This program mandates that a certain percentage of biofuels make up the nation’s transportation fuel supply.

After this summer’s drought, several states requested that the ethanol mandate be waived due to decreased corn supply. It has been estimated that half of the nation’s corn crop will be used to meet the ethanol mandate this year. After detailed economic analysis, the EPA has stated that the mandate does not “severely harm” the economy.

The mandate was expanded in 2007 under the Energy Independence and Security Act in an attempt to diversify the nation’s energy supply and decrease U.S. dependence on foreign oil. At the time, President Bush had declared that America was “addicted to oil” and such heavy reliance on oil undermined the United States’ national security goals.

The current issue of decreased supply and increased demand for corn may only be short term. If the EPA were to repeal the mandate, it would likely slow the development of other biofuels products that are not derived from food sources. However, if food prices continue to rise, the U.S. may be facing a weaker economy and increased conflict in hungrier areas of the globe.