Democrat Senators Offer Farm Bill Energy Package
by Cindy Zimmerman (Energy.AgWired.com) Senator Al Franken (D-MN), together with Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) have introduced the Agricultural Energy Programs Reauthorization Act of 2017, to reauthorize Title IX programs and funding through 2023.
According to the Agriculture Energy Coalition, the legislation would make renewable chemicals facilities fully eligible to participate in the Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical, and Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance Program; expand the BioPreferred program and the REAP program; and add new mandatory funding to “create economic and energy opportunities for rural America.” READ MORE
Agriculture Energy Coalition Members Applauds Senators’ Support of Farm Bill Energy Programs (BusinessWire/Agriculture Energy Coalition)
FARM BILL ENERGY TITLE PROGRAMS GET KEY BACKING (Algae Biomass Organization)
To Support Minnesota Farmers & Rural Communities, Senator Franken Offers Blueprint for Energy Section of New Farm Bill (Office of Senator Al Franken)
Proposed Appropriations Could Set Back Ag Energy (Biomass Magazine)
Franken drafts Farm Bill Energy Title featuring funding increases (Biomass Magazine)
Excerpt from Office of Senator Al Franken: You can read more about the specific provisions in the legislation below:
· Section 9002: Biobased Markets Program. Promotes biobased products through two initiatives: (1) a mandatory purchasing requirement for federal agencies and their contractors and (2) a voluntary labeling initiative for biobased products. Products that meet the minimum biobased content criteria may display the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Certified Biobased Product label.
· Section 9003: Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical, and Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance Program. Seeks to facilitate the development of new and emerging technologies for advanced biofuels, renewable chemical, and biobased product manufacturing by providing loan guarantees for constructing or retrofitting commercial-scale biorefineries.
· Section 9004: Repowering Assistance Program (RAP). Provides payments to those biorefineries in existence as of June 18, 2008, that replace fossil fuel-based heat and power systems with renewable biomass. The Secretary of Agriculture determines the amount of the payment. USDA reports it will provide funding up to 50% of the total eligible project costs.
· Section 9005: Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels. Provides payments to producers to support and expand advanced biofuels (i.e., not derived from corn starch). One payment type is based on “actual” biofuel production, and a second is for production increases. A cap of 5% of available funds per year is imposed on facilities that exceed an annual capacity of 150 million gallons.
· Section 9006: Biodiesel Fuel Education Program. Provides grants to nonprofit organizations and institutions of higher education that educate government and private entities that operate fleet vehicles, the public, and others about the benefits of biodiesel.
· Section 9007: Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). Provides eligible entities (e.g., tribes; state or local governments; land-grant colleges or universities; rural electric cooperatives) with grants to support agricultural producers and rural small businesses for energy audits and renewable energy assistance. Also provides loan guarantees and grants for energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy systems (RESs). RESs include biofuels, and power generation from wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, ocean, and some hydropower sources. RESs exclude retail energy dispensers (e.g., blender pumps).
· Section 9008: Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI). Offers competitive funding through grants, contracts, and financial assistance for research, development, and demonstration of technologies and processes for biofuels and biobased products. BRDI seeks to foster technologies capable of significant commercial production of biofuels competitively priced with fossil fuels; to develop biobased products that enhance the economic vitality of bioenergy; and to supply a diverse, sustainable supply of renewable biomass feedstock for conversion to bioenergy and bioproducts. Eligibility is limited to institutions of higher learning, national laboratories, federal or state research agencies, and private and nonprofit entities.
· Section 9009: Feedstock Flexibility Program (FFP). Designed to help stabilize sugar prices so as to avoid costly forfeitures under the sugar loan program. Under FFP, USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) may purchase sugar from processors for resale to ethanol producers for fuel ethanol.
· Section 9010: Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP). Makes payments to owners and operators of agricultural land and nonindustrial private forest land for establishing, producing, and delivering biomass feedstock to eligible processing plants. Payments include (1) within BCAP project areas, establishment payments for perennial crops and annual payments of up to five years for non-woody crops and 15 years for woody biomass crops and (2) matching payments for up to two years for crop collection, harvest, storage and transportation of qualified biomass.