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Advanced biofuels win major victories on Capitol Hill today

By Ron Kotrba | April 26, 2012

The advanced biofuels industry won two milestone victories today in Washington, D.C. The Senate Agriculture Committee passed an amendment offered by Sens. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., and Dick Lugar, R-Ind., that would restore $800 million in mandatory funding to the Farm Bill energy title.

Michael McAdams, president of the Advanced Biofuels Association, told Biorefining Magazine that this was “quite an accomplishment” considering last week the draft bill committee chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and ranking member Pat Roberts, R-Kan., released essentially included no mandatory funding for energy programs.

As the measure now stands, energy title funding of $800 million for fiscal years 2013-’17, spread across those five years, is as follows:

-9002 Biobased Markets $15 million

-9003 Biorefinery Assistance $216 million

-9006 Biodiesel Education $5 million

-9007 Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) $241million

-9008 Biomass Research and Development (BRDI) $130 million

-9011 Biomass Crop Assistance (BCAP) $193 million

When asked why the 180-degree turnaround in Washington regarding bioenergy funding, McAdams attributed the change to the strong lobbying efforts his and many other bioenergy organizations have led in the past weeks. “We’ve heard a lot of bad news recently,” McAdams said, referring to federal funding of bioenergy programs in the fiscally difficult climate in Washington these days. “But today was a good day,” he expressed. “I wish every day could be like today.”

McAdams said the effort could not have been accomplished without all of the groups, trade associations and organizations working together. “It’s a great story,” McAdams said of the unified front the bioenergy industries carried to Capitol Hill.

Also today in Washington, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development approved funding of the $510 million memorandum of understanding between the U.S. DOE, USDA and the Navy to help establish commercial advanced, drop-in biofuel refineries.

While there’s much work ahead to achieve a full appropriations committee vote for the MOU funding and full floor votes and mirrored legislation in the House of Representatives for both measures, McAdams said these are significant victories because we are starting with the appropriations in the bills rather than trying to add them to legislation later.

McAdams also testified today before the House Small Business Committee's Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy and Trade, detailing successes made in the advanced biofuels sector.

 

 

7 Responses

  1. Peter Brown

    2012-04-26

    1

    Ok, all together now, four choruses of the Harry Lewis choir by Handel !! I can use the good news, you can use the good news we can all use the good news. Next question, when will the funds be released?

  2. Ron Kotrba

    2012-04-26

    2

    Peter, thanks for the comment, there's a lot of work yet before these become law. The farm bill must pass a floor vote in the senate and then the House must pass a similar measure. The point of the victories is that in this tough fiscal climate in Washington, a subcommittee approval, or a committee approval, is indeed a victory because as I close the article saying, the funding measures are in the bills to start with, which, of late, is a huge plus. But again, this is a big victory, but a small step in the process.

  3. SeQuential Pacific Biodiesel

    2012-04-26

    3

    Would this include the federal blenders credit or no?

  4. Ron Kotrba

    2012-04-26

    4

    I wish I could say that it did, but no, these measures, as far as I am aware, do not include the $1 per gallon blenders credit for biodiesel.

  5. Brian Evers

    2012-04-27

    5

    Wowwwwy! I wonder what industries did before the government came along and subsidized/mandated them into existence. Victory for biodiesel plants, defeat for the taxpayer.

  6. M Clark

    2012-04-30

    6

    Defeat for the taxpayer today...maybe. Win for the global future energy needs. If new technology is not subsidized in some way, we don't get very good progress - these things take time. Without that black hole of funding called NASA, we wouldn't have Dustbusters, smoke detectors, cordless drills and a truckload of other products that weren't needed by the market until they were realized by a subsidized program. Rather spend my tax money on biofuel than financing the oil wars.

  7. Brian Evers

    2012-04-30

    7

    Did a dust buster create and industry or were their vacuum cleaners before that? Cordless drills were just electric drills with battery packs and they were an evolution of current viable industry. Biofuels are just created by government, in their current level of production, out of whole cloth. I will save you some research... There is no industry that has come about from mass subsidy and has been self sustaining.

  8.  

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