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Home » Agriculture, Federal Agency, Federal Legislation, Policy

House Appropriators Make Significant Cuts to Farm Energy Programs in FY18 Agriculture Spending Bill

Submitted by on June 30, 2017 – 3:55 pmNo Comment

by Jessie Stolark (Environmental and Energy Study Institute)  On June 29, the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee approved a spending bill for FY2018 providing $144.0 billion to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), $876 million lower than FY2017 and $4.64 billion above President Trump’s budget request. The popular Rural Energy for America Program (Sec. 9007), as well as the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (Sec. 9010) and the Biorefinery Assistance Program (Sec. 9003) funding levels are significantly reduced by the appropriations bill. These three programs are part of the Farm Bill’s Energy Title (IX).

Sec. 9010 – Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP)

BCAP provides cost-shares of expenses for perennial cultivation and utilization  of woody biomass for as heat, power, biobased products or advanced biofuels. Of all the Energy Title Programs, BCAP has been the most drastically cut, or “CHIMPed” over the course of the 2014 Farm Bill.  For FY2018, House appropriators go one step further and permanently cancel funds for the program.

The bill will now pass to the full House Appropriations Committee for consideration, the Senate has yet to take up any appropriations bills. While this is only the first step on the road to a spending bill, cutting funding levels in committee has implications for the 2018 Farm Bill, as 2018 program levels will be used to create the Farm Bill’s budget baseline. While lawmakers have acknowledged the likelihood of a Continuing Resolution (CR), which would fund the government at 2017 levels past October 30, the deep cuts to these programs are a disturbing signal for the Energy Title in the upcoming Farm Bill.  READ MORE

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