The outgoing U.S. Secretary of Agriculture listed advancements in the renewable fuels industry among the accomplishments of the Bush administration over the past eight years.
Speaking to reporters this week, Secretary Ed Schafer noted that growth in ethanol and biodiesel production have helped create “remarkable prosperity and growth in the agriculture economy” during the Bush administration.
“Looking to the future, we know that economic growth in rural American and energy security for our nation as a whole will both depend on further development of renewable fuels and for biofuels to reach their full potential we must develop new biomass feedstocks and the business models that go with them,” Schafer said. “The new Farm Bill puts us on the right road by providing $1 billion to help fund this effort, but continued public support will be needed.”
Schafer is hoping that before he leaves office he will be able to check off one more item on his “to do” list – awarding a loan guarantee for the construction of a commercial cellulosic ethanol facility that would produce 100 million gallons a year from wood chips and waste. “We’re trying to get it out the door before we leave,” Schafer said. “This is a huge move forward to United States’ energy independence and increased economic activity in rural markets.”
Schafer believes that making that investment and getting a major cellulosic ethanol facility in operation will jump start the movement to second generation biofuels.