Farm Bill Amendments Target Energy Programs

Cindy Zimmerman

Several of the more than 200 amendments proposed for the 2012 Farm Bill in the Senate would negatively impact Farm Bill energy programs.

Among the growing list are two from Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) that would eliminate all energy title mandatory funding and prohibit loan guarantees. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) is seeking to kill the Biorefinery Assistance Program and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) wants to terminate BCAP. Amendments offered by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. John Boozman (R-AR) would prohibit federal spending on blender pumps. And two amendments by Sen. DeMint and Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) would repeal the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

The Agriculture Energy Coalition (AgEC) sent a letter this week to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) urging them to defend re-authorization and significant mandatory funding for Farm Bill Energy Title programs as passed by the Senate Agriculture Committee.

“America’s agriculture, biotechnology and renewable energy industries are world leaders in the development and commercialization of biofuels, bioproducts, biopower, biogas, energy crops, renewable electricity and energy efficiency. These important and growing industries have already made significant contributions to our economic, environmental and national security and are poised to have an even more profound impact in the coming years – provided we commit ourselves to supporting and nurturing them with sound, consistent, forward-looking policies in the years ahead,” the letter states.

Work on the Farm Bill in the Senate ground to a halt this week after considering only two of the 240 amendments offered as of Wednesday.

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