USDA Announces Plan for $1.6 B Investment in Renewable Fuels

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns plans to propose $1.6 billion in new funding for renewable energy, with a focus on cellulosic energy research and production, as part of the Administration’s 2007 farm bill proposals.

This funding will support President Bush’s goal of reducing gasoline usage by 20 percent in the next ten years and will complement an array of renewable energy-related efforts underway at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). In his State of the Union Address January 23, President Bush announced his vision for our nation’s energy independence, including $2 billion in cellulosic production loan guarantees. The President’s proposals also include a new Alternative Fuels Standard, which contains a requirement for sources produced by American farmers and ranchers as well as an automatic “safety valve” to protect against unforeseen increases in the prices of alternative fuels or their feedstocks. “It remains a priority across USDA to support the development of biofuels. We will continue to build on current programs and turn the corner on renewable energy,” said Johanns. “With biofuels coming to the forefront, American agriculture faces the greatest opportunity of a generation to lead a future in which we get our energy by the bushel and not by the barrel.” Johanns plans to provide additional information about the proposal to provide $1.6 billion in new funding for renewable energy within the next few weeks when he unveils the Administration’s full package of 2007 farm bill proposals.

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