Ag Energy Coalition Thanks Reps. Kaptur and Braley for Rural Energy Investment Act

Washington, DC  (  The Agriculture Energy Coalition (AgEC) today expressed support for legislation introduced by Reps. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) and Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) to provide robust mandatory funding and extend eligibility to renewable chemicals in Farm Bill Energy Title programs. AgEC also thanked the legislation’s original co-sponsors, including Reps. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.), G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), Donna Christensen (D-V.I.), William Enyart (D-Ill.), Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), Rush Holt (D-N.J.), Ann Kuster (D-N.H.), David Loebsack (D-Iowa), Michael Michaud (D-Maine), Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), and Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.). The legislation would provide more than $1 billion in mandatory funding over the next five years for renewable energy programs.

Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) said, “In order to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and ease the pain at the pump, we need to enhance our renewable energy production here at home, especially our biofuels production. The legislation I introduced today with my colleagues would invest in renewable energy programs that have a proven track record of developing renewable American energy. It would also create thousands of jobs that cannot be outsourced as we work to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.”

“The Rural Energy Investment Act is a vision for the Farm Bill that ensures critical investments continue to be made in agriculture energy development – development that creates jobs all across America. These programs grow the economy and create demand for America’s agriculture products,” said Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa).

Lloyd Ritter, co-director of the Coalition, added, “We thank Congresswoman Kaptur, Congressman Braley and other original co-sponsors of this legislation. Investments in energy efficiency projects and renewable energy systems provide energy security, environmental benefits, and economic growth opportunities to the entire United States, including stable, well-paying employment opportunities. Farm Bill programs have supported 6,600 U.S. projects that employ 15,000 people and generate or save more than 7.3 billion kilowatt hours of electricity – enough to power 680,000 U.S. homes each year. Reauthorization and robust funding of these programs will continue that success. Commercialization of renewable chemical technologies can create additional manufacturing opportunities and improves U.S. economic competitiveness.”

Jim Greenwood, President & CEO of the Biotechnology Industry Organization, said, “Reauthorization of USDA renewable energy programs with robust mandatory funding is essential to America’s rural economy. Continuation of these effective programs will help U.S. companies continue to commercialize innovative biotech processes and create high-quality rural jobs. Granting long-overdue eligibility for renewable chemical projects will revive America’s manufacturing sector and improve U.S. economic competitiveness.”

Roger Johnson, President of the National Farmers Union, added, “America’s farmers and ranchers are poised to lead the way into the low carbon economy. Farm bill energy programs provide our producers with tools they need to harness the power of their land’s natural resources.”

The AgEC is a broad membership-based consortium of organizations and companies representing a broad spectrum of clean, renewable energy, energy efficiency and bioproducts stakeholders. It includes members focused on feedstock production and conversion technologies, rural economic development and diversification, biofuels, products and power, and renewable electricity production, environmental quality, and others. Coalition members are committed to seeing a strong bi-partisan energy title in the 2012 farm bill that builds on the tremendous clean energy accomplishments USDA has already realized and provides resources to USDA at a level that enables them to continue and expand this important mission.