Sixth District Congressman Bob Goodlatte stopped at a Roanoke sub shop Tuesday, but he wasn't looking for lunch. The Roanoke Republican was taking aim at a federal mandate he says is driving up food prices and making it harder for small businesses to prosper.
"We think that the government shouldn't be engaged in trying to impose this on the public," Goodlatte told reporters at a news conference Tuesday morning.
Goodlatte has introduced legislation to eliminate the federal standard that mandates the production of renewable fuels. The requirement, Goodlatte says, is driving up the cost of corn and other commodities, making it harder for livestock producers to pay for feed, and driving food prices higher.
"What you're doing is skewing the marketplace, costing consumers money and creating problems rather than solving them," Goodlatte said.
Firehouse franchisee Chris Pietrzyck said rising costs are a real concern for small businesses in the region.
"We're just hometown folks trying to make a living," Pietrzyck told us, "and it has a direct impact on our ability to take care of our own family is really what it comes down to."
The Renewable Fuels Association says the arguments against the Renewable Fuel Standard are misplaced. The group cites a new study that says there is no direct correlation between ethanol production and rising food prices. A much bigger influence on the cost of food, the group says, is the high price of oil.