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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Monday officially began its review of state requests to suspend the federal ethanol mandate, calling for a 30-day period of public comment on the waiver applications.

The governors of North Carolina and Arkansas asked the agency last week to temporarily waive the U.S. ethanol quota, as the worst drought in 50 years has sent corn prices soaring.

(Reporting by Ayesha Rascoe; Editing by Gary Hill)

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