Monday, July 16, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Andy Olsen, AOlsen@elpc.org, (608) 442-6998
MADISON, WI – On Thursday, July 12, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture eliminated mandatory funding for Farm Bill energy programs that encourage new sources of homegrown energy, create rural jobs and foster energy security.
“Eliminating mandatory funding would effectively end programs that have propelled agricultural energy development,” said Andy Olsen, Senior Policy Advocate with the Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC). “The loss of mandatory funding means the programs would need to compete annually for dwindling discretionary funding.”
ELPC praises the efforts by Rep. Leonard Boswell (D-Iowa) to offer an amendment to restore mandatory funding for the Energy Title. Unfortunately, the amendment did not come to a vote. ELPC looks forward to debate on the House floor and a floor amendment that restores mandatory funding.
Since 2003, Energy Title programs have incentivized thousands of farmers and rural businesses to become more energy efficient and more energy independent. Every state has benefited with modern technologies like energy efficiency, wind, solar and geothermal because of the Energy Title. These projects are on farms, small businesses and rural electric cooperatives and make community-based energy creation a reality.
“By stripping mandatory funding from programs like the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), the House Agriculture Committee halts the progress that has served every state and benefits all agricultural sectors in developing homegrown energy. This action essentially places a five-year hold on additional progress,” Olsen said.
Olsen called for a bipartisan amendment on the House floor restoring mandatory to funding to levels that, at a minimum, match those contained in the Farm Bill passed by the U.S. Senate.
“We urge supporters of rural development, job creation and homegrown energy to contact their representatives in the House to support mandatory funding of the Energy Title,” Olsen said.
The Environmental Law & Policy Center is the Midwest’s leading environmental legal advocacy and eco-business innovation organization.