Breaking News: attack on farm bill clean energy programs

May 17, 2018 |
Breaking news arrives from the Ag Energy Coalition regarding the 2018 Farm Bill. Green Capiltol’s Lloyd Ritter writes:
Rep. Biggs farm bill amendment was made in order by the Rules Committee last night to eviscerate the clean energy title programs of the farm bill.  It will be voted on as early as this afternoon. This is an attack on ALL renewables and energy efficiency.  American renewables and EE developers, suppliers, farmers, all consumers and supporters must work to beat this back immediately.  
Please, beginning this morning, contact House members and urge a NO vote on Biggs.  We already are getting help from key supporters on the Hill.  But they need our engagement.  Call, email or visit your House contacts immediately and make sure they know to vote NO on the Biggs amendment.
Popular, successful and transformational programs like REAP, the Biorefinery Assistance Program, Biopreferred, BCAPand others are all in serious jeopardy if this amendment passes.  Thousands of jobs, manufacturing opportunities, and rural economic development projects could be destroyed.  Farm bill energy title programs have helped farmers, ranchers, rural small businesses, renewable, biotech, and energy efficiency companies in all 50 states.
Again please urge all House members to vote NO on the anti energy, anti clean tech, anti rural America Biggs amendment.

Farm Bill backstory

We reported in April that the House Committee on Agriculture held a hearing to mark up the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 – draft farm bill legislation. Lloyd Ritter, director of the Agriculture Energy Coalition, released this statement in reaction: “The House Agriculture Committee has a long history of working in a bipartisan manner to support farmers, ranchers, foresters and rural businesses. There is strong bipartisan support for the renewable energy and energy efficiency programs in the farm bill, which have a demonstrated record of success in boosting the economic health of rural communities.”

“The Agriculture Energy Coalition greatly appreciates the support expressed by members of the Committee to keep the energy title intact, to further improve the programs, to provide the farm bill energy programs strong mandatory funding, and to continue incentivizing new biobased innovations and technologies – aspects that are lacking in the draft proposal,” said Ritter. “The coalition’s members look forward to working with Congress to pass a farm bill that reauthorizes the energy title programs with appropriate mandatory funding.”

We reported in March that more than 200 companies and trade associations today wrote House and Senate Agriculture Committee leaders, urging them “to reauthorize and maintain stable mandatory funding for energy title programs in the next farm bill reauthorization.”

The letter, organized by the Agriculture Energy Coalition, states, “For more than 15 years, the farm bill energy title programs have greatly assisted rural America in developing clean, renewable energy, biobased products, and making energy efficiency investments. Federal leadership has paid off. Rural economic development, jobs, manufacturing, and environmental quality have all seen quantifiable and substantial gains.”

“Energy title programs account for less than one tenth of 1 percent of farm bill spending and yet provide outsized benefits. For example more than 17,000 projects and counting have been cost-shared across the United States — in every state — with more than $5 billion leveraged since inception. Public/private investments through farm energy and bioeconomy programs are generating innovation and growth opportunities at a time rural America sorely needs it,” the letter continues.

In February, we ran a Thought Leadership column by Jeremy Gilpin, Jordan Blanchard, and Cindy Thyfault of the National Rural Lenders Association:  Energy Programs Should Be Fully Funded and Enhanced in the 2018 Farm Bill.

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