Washington Notes: BCAP grants; Son of VEETC; EPA-DOE merger?

May 9, 2011 |

In Washington, the USDA announced that it will award $15 million to the Show Me Energy cooperative in Missouri, in a grant aimed to foster development of switchgrass and other perennial energy crops as biofuels feedstocks. 20,000 acres will be planted in 38 counties across Missouri and Kansas in the initial phase of the program, increasing to up to 50,000. With expected yields of up to 10 acres of biomass per acre, the land cultivated under the program could  support up to 500,000 tonnes of switchgrass production, enough to support a  small cellulosic refinery in the 35 million gallon range. The grant comes under the Biomass Crop Assistance Program, which was reduced from $400 millnio to $112 million by Congress, and may be defunded this year amidst budget-cutting pressure.

Meanwhile, Republican Senator Richard Burr  of North Carolina led a total of 16 Republicans in sponsoring a bill that would merge the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency into a Department of Energy & Environment, saying that savings of up to $3 billion on duplicate programs could be achieved.

Finally, the Domestic Energy Promotion Act of 2011, co-sponsored by Senators Charles Grassley of Iowa and Kent Conrad of North Dakota, is gaining strong sypport from Midwestern senators, such as Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar, as well as major corn and ethanol groups. The bill would renew the ethanol tax credit (VEETC) but gradually reduce it until it zeroes out in 2016.The bill would also provide support for market access programs such as blender pump incentives.

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Category: Policy

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