Senator Harkin’s Energy Bill to REAP Benefits for Farmers

Chicago, Illinois [] Another energy bill has been introduced in Congress with Senator Tom Harkin’s (D-IA) Rural Energy for America Act of 2006, a farm energy bill that will commit federal resources to an aggressive program to develop Farm Energy. The program builds on the successful Section 9006 (“Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Improvements”) but using a new name: Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). The REAP Act ramps up overall funding to $250 million annually by the year 2012 to provide competitive grants to farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses for market-ready renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, thereby increasing support for the purchase of renewable energy systems. It authorizes USDA to structure grants as production incentives instead of construction grants, reducing the risk of undercutting the production tax credit (PTC) benefit. It also includes a rebate program for small- and medium-sized farmers and rural small businesses to obtain relief from high energy prices. Co-sponsoring the bill are Senators Richard Lugar (R-IN), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Ben Nelson (D-NE).


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