Advanced ethanol companies are urging Congressional leaders to include an energy title in any new farm legislation that is developed.
In a letter to Senate and House ag leaders this week, the Advanced Ethanol Council (AEC) urged them to include important rural energy initiatives currently being administered by the Department of Agriculture (USDA) in .
Specifically, AEC would like to see the USDA Loan Guarantee program for biorefinery projects extended while improving some provisions to increase participation by lending institutions. Also, reform of the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) to increase cost effectiveness, encourage energy crop production and include efforts to preserve the environmental benefits of land coming out of conservation programs. Finally, AEC encourages lawmakers to support USDA’s efforts to build out ethanol refueling infrastructure under the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) to facilitate market access that is critical to the ongoing development and deployment of advanced ethanol fuels.
“The next generation of the U.S. ethanol industry is just beginning to break ground on first commercial projects across the country, and while the Energy Title currently accounts for less than 1 percent of total budgetary outlays for the 2008 Farm Bill, many of these programs will be critical to existing and future advanced ethanol development projects,” wrote AEC Executive Director Brooke Coleman in the letter. “We are aware that the funding available for the new Farm Bill will be reduced significantly …. and look forward to thinking creatively with you about comprehensive solutions that cut cost but continue to provide meaningful value to an emerging advanced ethanol industry.”
Additionally, members of the AEC expressed interest in working with lawmakers to modify the Repowering Assistance program to help existing biorefining operations deploy advanced ethanol technologies and feedstock utilization. Many emerging advanced ethanol technologies will provide value to existing ethanol production facilities by diversifying feedstocks and improving efficiencies as well as creating new opportunities as stand alone facilities.