American Power Act Amps Up Rural Energy for America Program

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

For the first time, the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) was included in major federal energy legislation. On May 12, 2010, John Kerry (D-MA) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) included REAP in the American Power Act, a comprehensive clean energy and climate bill. Previously, REAP has only been in Farm Bills.

As described in the short summary of the American Power Act:

Additionally, the bill supports the Rural Energy for America Program, which has already reduced costs and created thousands of new clean energy jobs across rural America.

To help spur the development and deployment of clean energy technologies economy wide, the American Power Act will include REAP at a level nearly three times the FY2010 funding of $99.34 million. The American Power Act seeks to jumpstart our transition to a clean energy economy, creating jobs and investment nation-wide and reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.  The bill would also provide direct support to energy consumers and incentivize energy efficiency and renewable energy development.

Though the REAP program was included in the official bill summaries, it was inadvertently omitted from the discussion draft and will be included in later revisions.

This Congress has pledged to pass either a climate or a clean energy bill. REAP serves the goals of either type of bill:

  • REAP cuts carbon pollution with energy efficiency and renewable energy deployment through rural economic development.
  • REAP helps energy independence and energy security by reducing energy waste with energy efficiency and increasing distributed – and resilient – energy systems.

Groups Support Ag Energy Proposal for Carbon Pollution Reduction

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

Groups Unite for Improved Clean Energy Bill

September 10, 2009 – A diverse coalition of energy, agricultural and environmental groups called on the Senate Agriculture Committee to improve clean energy legislation by investing the revenue from carbon pollution allowances into programs that stimulate low carbon agriculture-based energy.

Low carbon ag-energy solutions include both energy efficiency improvements for farms and ranches and renewable energy projects such as wind turbines, solar panels, biomass (including biomass combined heat and power) and geothermal heating and cooling systems. Energy efficiency saves money for farmers, ranchers and foresters and reduces global warming pollution very quickly. All of these modern technologies reduce carbon pollution and are well-suited for agricultural applications.

The proposal would provide incentives without increasing taxes. Instead, the proposal uses proceeds from the sale of carbon pollution allowances and invests that money into initiatives that reduce carbon pollution and create new savings and income for rural America. The allowance trading system is part of a market-based system that can reduce global warming pollution at the lowest cost.

“American agriculture can and should lead the way to drastic carbon reductions, but we need policies like these to jumpstart the pace of clean energy implementation,” said Andy Olsen, Senior Policy Advocate for the Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC).

“Investing allowances to stimulate clean energy development is a textbook example of sound policy to cut carbon pollution and should be part of any agriculture package,” said Kerri Johannsen, Policy Advocate for ELPC.

“Agriculture can be a net winner in the climate bill,” added Olsen. “Expanding low carbon ag-energy initiatives is good for agriculture, good for rural economic development and good for fighting climate change.”

You can find the letter, including all the supporting groups, here.  See also the ELPC fact sheet that discusses why these programs are a great fit in the climate bill and how they can benefit farmers, ranchers and forest owners across the country.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Andy Olsen
September 10, 2009 608-334-1456

Ag Energy Proposal for Carbon Pollution Reduction

Groups Unite for Improved Clean Energy Bill

A diverse coalition of energy, agricultural and environmental groups called on the Senate Agriculture Committee to improve clean energy legislation by investing the revenue from carbon pollution allowances into programs that stimulate low carbon agriculture-based energy.

Low carbon ag-energy solutions include both energy efficiency improvements for farms and ranches and renewable energy projects such as wind turbines, solar panels, biomass (including biomass combined heat and power) and geothermal heating and cooling systems. Energy efficiency saves money for farmers, ranchers and foresters and reduces global warming pollution very quickly. All of these modern technologies reduce carbon pollution and are well-suited for agricultural applications.

The proposal would provide incentives without increasing taxes. Instead, the proposal uses proceeds from the sale of carbon pollution allowances and invests that money into initiatives that reduce carbon pollution and create new savings and income for rural America. The allowance trading system is part of a market-based system that can reduce global warming pollution at the lowest cost.

“American agriculture can and should lead the way to drastic carbon reductions, but we need policies like these to jumpstart the pace of clean energy implementation,” said Andy Olsen, Senior Policy Advocate for the Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC).

“Investing allowances to stimulate clean energy development is a textbook example of sound policy to cut carbon pollution and should be part of any agriculture package,” said Kerri Johannsen, Policy Advocate for ELPC.

“Agriculture can be a net winner in the climate bill,” added Olsen. “Expanding low carbon ag-energy initiatives is good for agriculture, good for rural economic development and good for fighting climate change.”

The letter is attached.

Climate change may reduce corn, soy, cotton yields 80% by 2100

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

If action is not taken to reduce greenhouse gas pollution, scientists predict that climate change may cause yields of corn, soybeans, and cotton– three of America’s biggest cash crops– to decrease by as much as 80% by 2100. A new study released by researchers at Columbia University and North Carolina State University in the online Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences details these potential impacts. (more…)

New Scientific Report Details Global Warming Challenges to Agriculture

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

The US Global Change Research Program and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), in consultation with the USDA, released a new report on June 16th detailing the current and probable future impacts of global warming on agriculture, water resources, and other sectors in the United States. The report shows that global warming will increase costs to agriculture and often result in lower yields. (more…)

Study Shows Strong Farm Bill Energy Programs Would Help Curb Global Warming

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

Congress Must Invest at Least $1 Billion a Year in Energy Title to Benefit Environment, National Security and Rural America

Report Resources

Download report (PDF)

CHICAGO, IL – A new study shows that farm-based renewable energy and energy efficiency programs in the U.S. Farm Bill could reduce greenhouse gas pollution by 57 million metric tons a year – the equivalent of eliminating the pollution from over 11 million cars.

The study, “Mitigating Global Warming through the Farm Bill,” is the first to examine the potential greenhouse gas savings of the Farm Bill Energy Title. The study assumes funding of at least $1 billion a year, or $5 billion over the five-year life of the legislation, which is less than 2% of the total Farm Bill Budget. The programs in the Energy Title encourage development of farm-based and rural renewable power generation, biofuels facilities, and energy efficiency projects that provide low-carbon energy alternatives.

(more…)