USDA Invites Public Comment on Renewable Energy Programs

Cindy Zimmerman

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is inviting public comment on several proposed rules designed to increase the production of advanced biofuels and the development of biorefineries that were authorized under the 2008 Farm Bill.

“We view these proposed rules as part of the strategy to help meet President Obama’s goal to accelerate the commercial production of advanced biofuels and create a viable alternative fuels industry,” Vilsack said.

The proposed rules affect three renewable energy programs administered by USDA Rural Development – the Biorefinery Assistance Program, Repowering Assistance Payments, and Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels. The programs are designed to establish guaranteed loan regulations to develop and construct commercial-scale biorefineries and to retrofit existing facilities using an eligible technology to develop advanced biofuels; make payments to eligible biorefineries to install new systems that encourage renewable biomass energy use and replace fossil fuels; and establish a payment program for eligible producers of advanced biofuels.

Additional information on the proposed rules and instructions on how the public can offer comments are available in the April 16, 2010 Federal Register.

biofuels, USDA