ELPC Commends Expert Testimony on Farm Bill Clean Energy Programs Before the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the US Senate Committee on Agriculture heard testimony from a number of expert witnesses in support of clean energy programs in the Farm Bill. Witnesses and Senators alike praised the programs’ positive job creation, environmental protection and rural economic development benefits.

“We commend the experts and Senators who took a stand for homegrown clean energy today,” says Andy Olsen, Senior Policy Advocate at the Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC), a long-time champion of the Farm Bill’s clean energy programs. “Through these programs, America has made unprecedented gains in rural renewable energy and energy efficiency. Congress and the White House should continue this forward momentum.”

Steve Flick, one of the nation’s farm energy entrepreneurs, called for Congressional action to renew and fully fund core Farm Bill clean energy programs, such as the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) and the Biorefinery Assistance Program. “America’s farmers, ranchers and rural residents can have a bright future ahead of them with the right incentives,” Flick says. “Renewable energy is the future of rural America.”

Bennie Hutchins of Mississippi provided numerous examples of how REAP has helped agricultural producers and rural small businesses save money and produce income across the South. He shared ELPC analysis showing that REAP produces jobs at a greater than average rate.

“Farm Bill clean energy programs have been an unprecedented success. They have helped farmers reduce their energy bills and energy waste through energy efficiency and accelerated the introduction of modern clean energy technologies into the marketplace,” Olsen says. “Congress and the White House should continue this momentum by renewing and fully funding core Farm Bill clean energy programs.”

President Obama’s 2013 Budget Slashes Farm Energy Programs

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

(February 15, 2012) On Monday, February 13, President Obama released his proposed budget for fiscal year 2013 under the cloud of an expiring Farm Bill and fiscal austerity demands. The President announced that renewable energy and energy efficiency were priorities; however, they were not priorities within his agriculture budget. In testimony this morning in Washington, Secretary Tom Vilsack said that the need to fund food stamps in this economy forced some hard choices in (more…)

Video: Save Farm Energy Programs

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

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Senate Appropriations Committee Slashes Funding for Farm Energy Programs

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

Renewable Energy Cuts Far Out of Proportion

The Senate Appropriations Committee slashed funding for the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) in the Agriculture Appropriations Bill for FY2012. The Committee reduced overall funding from $75 million in FY2011 to $38.5 million in FY2012. REAP funding was already reduced in 2011 by 25% as the program continues to bear a disproportionate share of budget cuts. (more…)

House Eliminates REAP and Energy Crop Programs

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

Decision Means Higher Energy Costs for Farms and Rural Businesses

(May 24, 2011) Today the House of Representatives’ Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee will  vote to eliminate the popular and effective Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) in its 2012 appropriations bill. REAP is the only federal program successfully helping farmers and rural small businesses fight high energy costs with renewable energy systems and energy efficiency.

“Killing REAP leaves agriculture and rural businesses at the mercy of high oil and electricity prices,” said Andy Olsen, ELPC Senior Policy Advocate. (more…)

Senate Omnibus Appropriations Bill Slashes Farm Bill Clean Energy Programs

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

The Omnibus Appropriations Bill introduced to the US Senate late on December 14 would cut Farm Bill clean energy programs by over $120 million and would eliminate the Biomass Crop Assistance Program. See the following list of cuts:

  • Rural Energy for America Program, Section 9007. Cut from total $99.34 million in 2010 to $70 million in 2011.
  • Biomass Crop Assistance Program, Section 9011, is denied administrative funds, effectively killing the program.
  • Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels, Section 9005 is reduced by $28 million.
  • Biorefinery Assistance Program Section 9003 is reduced by $56 million. (more…)