Washington, DC [RenewableEnergyAccess.com] The House Agriculture Committee today passed a draft Farm Bill that, if properly funded, will make historic investments in the biofuels, wind and solar industries.Farm Bill clean energy supporters responded with cautious optimism to the passage of the House Agriculture Committee’s draft Farm Bill. Although the draft legislation proposes new energy investments, virtually all of the funding is uncertain; it relies on finding offsets or other sources outside of the Farm Bill.
According to Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC) Senior Attorney John Moore, “The Agriculture Committee’s Farm Bill Energy Title has the right programs in place, but it contains no mandatory energy investments, and virtually all of the proposed funding in the en bloc amendment is contingent on as-yet-unidentified other funding sources.”
A broad coalition of farm, energy and environmental groups recently sent a united request to Congressional leaders to boost federal Farm Bill funding for the Energy Title to at least $1 billion per year. The groups stressed the Energy Title’s benefits for national security, rural economic development, and the environment, especially given that many renewable energy opportunities are in rural areas.
The successful energy programs in the 2002 Farm Bill already have generated substantial new investments in wind power, biofuels, solar power, energy efficiency and other energy resources.
The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the Farm Bill before the end of July.