The Agriculture Energy Coalition (AgEC) commends Rep. Marcy Kaptur
(D-OH), and 16 other members for their leadership in introducing
legislation to reauthorize and fund the most vital energy programs found
in the current Farm Bill, which is scheduled to expire in September.
AgEC pledges to work with Congressmembers to ensure the legislation
serves as a model for a strong Energy Title as the House Agriculture
Committee marks up a new Farm Bill. The bill's original co-sponsors
include Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Rep. Leonard Boswell (D-Iowa),
Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa), Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), Rep. Donna
Christensen (D-V.I.), Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), Rep. Maurice Hinchey
(D-N.Y.), Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wisc.), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Rep.
Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa), Rep. Ben Lujan (D-N.M.), Rep. Michael Michaud
(D-Me.), Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Me.), Rep. Laura Richardson (D-Calif.),
Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), and Rep. Tim Walz (D-Minn.).
"The Farm Bill's bi-partisan energy title has been a tremendous economic
driver for communities throughout rural America, funding renewable
energy and energy efficiency projects in every state and unlocking
capital markets for the commercialization of advanced biofuels, biopower
and bioproducts, expanded wind, and solar as well as improved energy
efficiency for farmers and rural businesses across the country," stated
Lloyd Ritter, a founder and co-director of AgEC.
Rep. Kaptur's bill, entitled the Rural Energy Investment Act (REIA) of
2012, is comprehensive farm energy legislation that would provide the
U.S. Department of Agriculture with new resources and authorities to
continue and broaden its vital mission of diversifying agricultural
energy opportunities for farmers, businesses and rural landowners,
saving or creating thousands of new energy employment opportunities.
Specifically, this bill would strengthen and fund the Rural Energy for
America Program (REAP), as well as simplify the application process. It
would provide very strong cost-share funding for the Biomass Crop
Assistance Program (BCAP), the only federal program dedicated to
expanding the supply, diversity and economics of producing cellulosic
feedstocks for commercial conversion into biofuel, bioproducts and
biopower. And it would strengthen both the federal biobased products
procurement program and the product labeling program for industrial
products made from biological feedstocks. It would also fund the
Biorefinery Assistance Program that provides federal loan guarantees for
the development, construction, and retrofitting of commercial-scale
advanced biorefineries, and make refineries producing biochemicals fully
eligible for participation in this program for the first time.
Finally, it would reauthorize the Rural Energy Self-Sufficiency
Initiative, the Forest Biomass for Energy Program, the Community Wood
Energy Program, and fund the Biodiesel Fuel Education Program, and the
Biomass Research and Development Program.
The AgEC is a broad membership-based consortium of organizations and
companies representing a broad spectrum of clean, renewable energy,
energy efficiency and bioproducts stakeholders. It includes members
focused on feedstock production and conversion technologies, rural
economic development and diversification, biofuels, products and power,
and renewable electricity production, environmental quality, and others.
Coalition members are committed to seeing a strong bi-partisan energy
title in the 2012 farm bill that builds on the tremendous clean energy
accomplishments USDA has already realized and provides resources to USDA
at a level that enables them to continue and expand this important