Trump Budget Eviscerates Rural Clean Energy Programs

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017

On May 23, 2017, the White House released their recommended fiscal year 2018 budget, reflecting their priorities and policies for the nation. And the message clearly states they do not support farm-based clean energy production as a way to invest in rural America. This budget would unravel the legislative deal struck in the 2014 Farm Bill.

The Trump budget eliminated funding for the most effective programs of the Farm Bill Energy Title. Additionally, for several programs the budget eliminated funding that had been carried forward from previous years, which means they went beyond cutting annual funding to even eliminate residual funds.

The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) has supported over 15,000 energy saving and clean energy producing projects in rural areas in every state. The 2014 Farm Bill provided mandatory funding of $50 million per year. The Trump budget would eliminate all of that funding, and also remove $8 million carried forward from previous years, essentially killing REAP.

The Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical and Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance program provides loan guarantees for plants that can use agricultural residues and other forms of biomass to produce a range of energy and non-energy projects. The Trump budget claws back the $175 million in accumulated program funding.

The Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) would be get the same treatment as in previous years – capped at $3 million.

A statement from the Chairs of House and Senate Agriculture Committees indicate they will pursue a more independent path on appropriations, though they did not specifically mention energy programs.

The following chart provides an over view of changes. Note that the negative numbers mean mandatory funding would be eliminated and reserve funds would be taken away.

President’s FY2018 Farm Bill -Clean Energy Programs with mandatory funding
Section Section name 2018 Mandatory President’s 2018 Request
9002 Biobased Markets 5  No change
9003 Biorefinery Assistance Program  $           –  $    (175.0)
9004 Repowering Assistance Program  $           –  No change
9005 Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels  $        15.0  No change
9006 Biodiesel Fuel Education Program  $         1.0  No change
9007 Rural Energy for America Program  $        50.0  $        (8.0)
9010 Biomass Crop Assistance Program  $        25.0  $         3.0

 

Explanation of appropriations terms

Mandatory funding — The amount authorized in the five-year Farm Bill by Congress is available unless limited to smaller amounts in the annual appropriations process; if appropriators do not act, the amount that was authorized is provided to the program.

Discretionary funding – Programs that require annual funding to be passed by the Appropriations Committees.

 

 

USDA Releases REAP Funds for FY2014 and FY2015

Monday, December 29th, 2014

(December 29, 2014) The USDA released today a notice of solicitation of applications (NOSA) for the Rural Energy for American Program (REAP). This funding notice releases mandatory funding for both FY2014 and FY2015, as well as discretionary funding recently made available in the “Cromnibus.”

With two years of funding released at the same time, this NOSA sets a record for the largest REAP funding notice in program history, of $101.35 million. (more…)

First Round of 2014 REAP Funding Announced

Monday, May 5th, 2014

May 5, 2014  – Today the USDA announced funding for the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). REAP provides grants and loan guarantees to farmer, ranchers and rural small businesses for a wide range of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. You can download the Notice of Funding Availability here

Today’s funding announcement is the first of two rounds of funding to be announced this year. The available funds are from the 2014 Congressional appropriation of $3.5 million and include an additional $24. (more…)

2014 Farm Bill’s Energy Title Provisions

Friday, March 7th, 2014

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REAP Funding Notice for 2013 Released

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

The USDA on Friday, March 29th, released a funding notice for the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) for 2013. While the funding levels have diminished, the funding this year will help hundreds of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects around the country reach fruition. (more…)

A Fighting Chance for Farm Bill Clean Energy Programs

Friday, October 5th, 2012

October 5, 2012 – With Congress adjourned until after November elections, the existing Farm Bill has (temporarily) lapsed, along with nearly all Energy Title programs. The Farm Bill’s successful Energy Title has a fighting chance of survival with support in both parties and both chambers. (more…)