CHICAGO, May 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today Congress overrode the
President's veto of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008, also
known as the Farm Bill. The new legislation includes a significant clean
energy development component -- improved and new programs for wind power,
advanced biofuels, energy efficiency, solar power and new energy crops for
cleaner energy from America's farmers, ranchers and rural businesses.
"We thank the Agriculture Committee leadership for their support of a
stronger Energy Title in the face of an extremely difficult budget
environment," said Howard Learner, Executive Director of the Environmental
Law and Policy Center. "These programs are good for all Americans -- they
are a win-win-win for our energy security, environment, and economy."
The new Energy Title received $1.04 billion in mandatory appropriations
in the 2008 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill also includes $348 million in new tax
credits to spur production of advanced cellulosic biofuels to help cut our
nation's dependence on imported oil. While the Farm Bill's overall funding
falls short of need, it is a good start towards addressing pressing
national energy concerns.
The improved and new clean energy programs in the Energy Title include:
-- Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). REAP funding has been more
than doubled and improves the Farm Bill's successful "Section
9006" clean energy development program for locally-owned wind
power, energy efficiency, solar energy, and other clean energy projects
($255 million over four years).
-- For the first time, REAP now includes Energy Technical Assistance
funding to help farmers save money, improve margins and reduce
-- Biorefinery Assistance. Grants and loan guarantees to help build
advanced biorefineries; critical to jumpstart advanced biofuels
production ($320 million).
-- Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP). A first-ever energy crop
program to help encourage farmers to grow sustainable energy crops such
as switchgrass ($70 million).
-- Repowering Assistance. A new program, Rural Repowering, assists boilers
at biofuels plants to burn energy crops instead of coal, cutting
pollution and creating new markets for energy crops ($35 million).
-- Advanced Biofuels. Production incentives for advanced biofuels ($300
-- Biomass Research and Development. New investments for biomass fuel and
power research and development ($118 million).
The Energy Title will also improve the federal biobased markets
procurement and biodiesel fuel education programs. The legislation also
includes several other programs for which Congress could not provide
funding in the Farm Bill, such as a new program to curb fertilizer costs
and fossil fuel burning by using wind and other renewable energy instead.
Supporters of these programs now look to the Appropriations Committees for
The new Farm Bill also includes $348 million in new tax credits to help
jumpstart environmentally preferable cellulosic ethanol production.
"America needs new domestic, sustainable energy. Leadership of the
Senate Finance and House Ways and Means Committees should be commended for
providing these new clean energy incentives," said Andy Olsen, Senior
Policy Advocate for ELPC.
"In all, these new programs are a good start," said John Moore, Senior
Attorney for ELPC. "There is much more that can yet be done to help solve
rural America's energy challenges, and we urge Congress to strengthen these
programs with additional funding in the coming years, before the next Farm
For additional information on the Farm Bill's Energy Title programs, go
SOURCE Environmental Law & Policy Center