Farm Bill Clean Energy Programs Funded for 2016
The dust has settled on funding the government for fiscal year 2016, which began on October 1, 2015. After protracted discussions, an omnibus bill was passed that continues funding for key Farm Bill clean energy programs, with some funding reductions.
The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP, Section 9007) is the cornerstone of the Farm Bill’s energy title. The House-passed appropriations measure would have reduced REAP mandatory funding by 28%, from $50 million to $35.8 million. The Senate measure maintained mandatory funding and added $.5 million in discretionary funding, restricted to loan guarantees.
The Omnibus included the Senate measure and REAP funding was preserved for 2016.
For other programs, the news was mixed:
- The Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP, Section 9010) was severely cut, from a mandatory appropriation of $25 million to $3 million.
- The Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical and Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance (Section 9003) was substantially cut from a $50 million mandatory appropriation to $27 million.
- The Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels (Section 9005) was unaffected entirely.
Description of Appropriations Terms
Mandatory funding — “the amount authorized by Congress is available unless limited to smaller amounts in the appropriations process; if appropriators do not act, the amount that was authorized is provided to the program.”
Discretionary funding – Programs that require annual funding determined by the Appropriations Committee