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Biofuel trade groups defend Farm Bill energy title, RFS2

By Erin Voegele | April 11, 2012

Trade organizations representing many sectors of the biorefining industry, as well as other bioenergy stakeholders, are taking action on behalf of their members to encourage a strong energy title be included in the next Farm Bill. Biofuels trade organizations are also working to defend the RFS2 from a legal challenge initiated by the American Petroleum Institute.

Regarding support of the Farm Bill, the Biotechnology Industry Organization, the Advanced Biofuels Association, the Advanced Ethanol Council, the Algal Biomass Organization, the American Coalition for Ethanol, Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association joined a coalition of 100 organizations to issue a letter to leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees asking for the reauthorization and funding of Farm Bill energy title programs.

“Congress can’t afford to wait to boost commercialization of advanced biofuels and revitalize rural America,” said Brent Erickson, executive vice president of BIO’s Industrial & Environmental Section. “A strong energy title in the farm bill can do this and help new agricultural markets emerge and reduce the need for direct payments to farmers. Thanks to the energy title in past farm bills, advanced biofuel, biobased product and renewable chemical biorefineries are being developed across the United States.”

In the letter, the groups point out that the energy title programs included in the 2002 and 2008 Farm Bills are vital to growing the biofuels, bioproducts, biopower, biogas, and energy crop industries, which in turn benefit the agricultural and forestry sectors. The groups note that the biorefining industries also provide important economic, environmental and national security benefits.

“Many tens of thousands of direct and indirect jobs are being created in rural areas by our nation’s expanding clean energy economy,” said the groups in the letter. “This growth is occurring due in large part to Farm Bill energy programs, which have used a modest amount of federal money to leverage billions of dollars in private investment. These new agriculture, manufacturing, and high-tech jobs are at risk without continued federal investment.” According to the letter, these energy title programs were able to create significant economic impact, even though they accounted for only 0.7 percent of the overall spending in the 2008 Farm Bill.

The ABFA, ACE, AEC, BIO, Growth Energy and RFA also recently joined forces to file a motion in the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on April 6 to intervene in support of the U.S. EPA’s RFS2 2012 final rule, which is being challenged by the API.

In the filing, the trade associations stated that their members have invested in equipment, research and development to supply the necessary renewable fuel to meet the volume requirements established in the 2012 final rule. According to the groups, API’s challenge would reduce the standards set by Congress and the EPA while depriving members of the benefit of investments made in reliance on policy approved by Congress. 

 

 

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