Bipartisan House members back farm bill energy title programs

By Agri-Pulse staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



Washington, June 15, 2012 - A dozen members of the House delivered a bipartisan letter to the House Agricultural Committee asking for reauthorization of key energy title programs as the committee prepares to take up the Farm Bill.

Five Republicans and seven Democrats, led by Sanford D. Bishop Jr. (D-Ga.) and Tom Latham (R-Iowa), joined to urge the renewal of core energy title programs that advance energy efficiency, renewable resources and energy independence.

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“We know that America can overcome her energy challenges and that our agricultural producers and rural small businesses have much to offer the nation in tapping new renewable energy sources. Overcoming these problems requires long-term and consistent commitment. We ask you to provide that leadership by renewing core Farm Bill Energy Title programs,” states the letter.

The 12 representatives emphasized the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) and the Biorefinery Assistance Program.

“REAP has supported projects in every state and with many diverse technologies. BCAP has supported projects across the country, from the Midwest to the Pacific Northwest and in the South. The Biorefinery Assistance Program has supported projects all over the US, including the South,” according to the letter. 

The letter referenced the hundreds of new BCAP projects under development, over 7,750 energy efficiency and renewable energy projects funded in every state under REAP, and the USDA's first loan guarantees for cellulosic biofuels projects as a “growing track record of accomplishment for agriculture-based energy.”

Joining Reps. Latham and Bishop in signing the letter were Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), John Barrow (D-Ga.), Roscoe G. Barlett (R-Md.), G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), Ron Kind (D-Wis.), Steve King (R-Iowa), Bobby Schilling (R-Ill.) and Aaron Schock (R-Ill.).

The Senate is now considering a Farm Bill, passed by the Senate Agriculture Committee that continues core Energy Title programs with mandatory funding, reduced by two-thirds from 2008 levels.

“The Farm Bill before the Senate emphasizes diverse renewable energy technologies across the country by making a priority of the Rural Energy for America Program,” said Andy Olsen, Senior Policy Expert at the Environmental Law & Policy Center.

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