REAP

PRESS RELEASE: ELPC Commends US Senate for Preserving Energy Title & REAP in Farm Bill

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ELPC Commends U.S. Senate for Preserving Energy Title & REAP in Farm Bill

Concerns about last-minute amendment to REAP will be addressed in conference

 

Washington, D.C. – Today the U.S. Senate passed the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (Farm Bill). The Senate Farm Bill continues important energy title programs, including funding for the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) that provides incentives to farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses for energy efficiency and renewable energy. The Senate bill, which passed 86-11, includes crucial mandatory funding for REAP.

Andy Olsen, Senior Policy Advocate at the Environmental Law & Policy Center, said:

“Thank you to the Senate for continuing REAP with essential mandatory funding. On a bipartisan basis, Senators recognize that REAP has been a very successful program providing broad benefits to agriculture and serving every state.”

Ann Mesnikoff, ELPC’s Federal Legislative Director, added: “The Senate Farm Bill’s continuation of REAP and the energy title with mandatory funding stands in stark contrast to the House partisan bill that eviscerated both the energy title and mandatory funding for REAP and other programs.”

Olsen added. “We will work through the conference process to support REAP in a final 2018 Farm Bill and to address the last-minute damaging changes to the REAP program made on the Senate floor in the Enzi/Wyden amendment.”

“ELPC recognizes the work of Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI and Ranking Member of the Agriculture Committee) deserves great credit for being a champion of the Rural Energy for America Program,” said Mesnikoff.

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PRESS RELEASE: ELPC Commends US Senate Committee on Agriculture for Preserving Energy Title & REAP in Farm Bill

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ELPC Commends U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture
for Preserving Energy Title & REAP in Farm Bill

Midwest senators step up in bipartisan effort
to protect farmers’ interests in vital energy programs

Washington, D.C. – Today the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry passed the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (Farm Bill) by a vote of 20 to 1. The Senate Farm Bill continues important energy title programs, including funding for the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) that provides incentives to farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses for energy efficiency and renewable energy. The committee voted to include an amendment to strengthen energy programs with mandatory funding.

Andy Olsen, Senior Policy Advocate at the Environmental Law & Policy Center, said:

“Thank you to the Senators of the Agriculture Committee for continuing REAP with essential mandatory funding. REAP has made a tremendous difference across agricultural sectors and for rural small businesses, bringing a broad range of renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency investments.”

Ann Mesnikoff, ELPC’s Federal Legislative Director added “The Senate Farm Bill’s continuation of REAP and the energy title with mandatory funding stands in stark contrast to the failed House bill that eviscerated both the energy title and mandatory funding for REAP and other programs.” The House version of the Farm Bill was defeated by a margin of 198-213 on May 18th.

The committee adopted a bipartisan amendment to restore mandatory funding for programs within the energy title consistent with the 2014 Farm Bill. The bipartisan amendment was led by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) with senators from across the Midwest, including Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND).

“Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich. and Ranking Member of the committee) deserves great credit for being a champion of the Rural Energy for America Program,” Olsen added. “Her efforts have advanced a program that helps grow America’s farm energy potential and brings benefits to farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses across the country.”

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PV Magazine: House Rejects Amendment to Eliminate REAP

May 21, 2018
House Rejects Amendment to Eliminate REAP
By Tim Sylvia

On Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to reject a proposed amendment to the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, also known as “Farm Bill” that would, among other changes, repeal the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).

REAP is a federal program that provides grants and other financial assistance to agricultural producers and rural small businesses, allowing them to “purchase, install, and construct renewable energy systems, make energy efficiency improvements to non-residential buildings and facilities, use renewable technologies that reduce energy consumption, and participate in energy audits and renewable energy development assistance.”

“The bipartisan House vote preserving the Energy Title sends a strong message that attempts to cut farm energy efforts should cease,” said Andy Olsen, senior policy advocate at the Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC). “Congress should step up and increase funding for effective farm energy initiatives like the Rural Energy for America Program. REAP serves all agricultural sectors and has benefited farmers throughout the Midwest and across the country.”

The amendment was proposed by Representative Andy Biggs (R-AZ) and was shot down by an 82% majority, with the final tally being 340 votes against to 74 votes for. Biggs is no stranger to proposing cuts on renewable energy funding. In July 2017, Biggs introduced the Farewell to Unnecessary Energy Lifelines Reform Act, or FUEL, which proposed the elimination of several energy subsidies under the most recent farm bill of 2014. The act has since been referred to the Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit, where it has been effectively dead since September.

The House effort to reject the proposed amendment was lead by representatives Rodney Davis (R-IL) and Kristi Noem (R-SD), which appears to show divisions within the Republican Party over this issue.

“The resounding defeat of the Biggs Amendment sends a strong signal to the Senate that these programs have bipartisan support and should be renewed with mandatory funding,” said Ann Mesnikoff, federal legislative director for ELPC.

While this vote appeared to be a win for the protection of REAP, it is not a lasting one. The proposed Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 was ultimately shut down on Friday, when it failed to pass in the House in a 213-198 vote. The current farm bill expires in 2018 and will need to be renewed or replaced by the end of the year, which opens up further opportunities for lawmakers to continue attacks on REAP.

It is worth note that REAP has been incredibly popular among agricultural and rural business owners in the Midwest, with requests for funds regularly exceeded available grants.

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Press Release: ELPC Urges US Senate to Preserve Energy Title & REAP in Farm Bill

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

ELPC Urges U.S. Senate to Preserve Energy Title & REAP in Farm Bill

  House overwhelmingly rejects amendment to repeal energy programs

 

Washington, D.C. – During consideration of the Farm Bill (The Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018), the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly rejected an amendment from Representative Andy Biggs (R-AZ) to repeal the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) and other Farm Bill Energy Title initiatives by a stunning 82%. The vote was 340 to 74.

In response, Andy Olsen, Senior Policy Advocate at the Environmental Law & Policy Center, said:

“The bipartisan House vote preserving the Energy Title sends a strong message that attempts to cut farm energy efforts should cease. Congress should step up and increase funding for effective farm energy initiatives like the Rural Energy for America Program. REAP serves all agricultural sectors and has benefited farmers throughout the Midwest and across the country.”

Representatives Rodney Davis (R-IL) and Kristi Noem (R-SD) led the House floor opposition to the measure and spoke strongly in support of these programs during the debate over the Farm Bill.

“The resounding defeat of the Biggs Amendment sends a strong signal to the Senate that these programs have bipartisan support and should be renewed with mandatory funding,” said Ann Mesnikoff, ELPC’s Federal Legislative Director.

The failed Farm Bill was defeated on a bipartisan vote of 213-198. The defeated measure would have wholly eliminated reliable mandatory funding for programs in the Energy Title, including the REAP.

REAP provides grants and loan guarantees to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to adopt energy efficiency and renewable energy. REAP has been highly popular with farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses in the Midwest, with requests regularly exceeding available funds.

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ELPC Presents at USDA’s Forum on Rural Energy for America

???????????????????????????????On Friday, Feb. 6th, ELPC Senior Policy Advocate Andy Olsen spoke at the USDA’s National Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Stakeholder Forum, which outlined program improvements since REAP’s recent overhaul and highlighted stakeholder successes. To access a free webcast of the event, click here.

New ELPC Report: Farm Energy Success Stories (3rd Edition)

FESS_2014_CoverThe new edition of ELPC’s Farm Energy Success Stories features over a dozen projects from across the nation funded by the Farm Bill’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), which ELPC has long championed.  These projects span a wide variety of technologies — including biomass, anaerobic digesters, energy efficiency, geothermal, hydroelectric, solar and wind — that have had a positive impact on rural development.

The new Farm Bill passed earlier in 2014 provides $881 million for Energy Title programs like REAP over 10 years, benefiting small- and mid-sized farms and ranches, as well as rural small businesses. ELPC’s Farm Bill Clean Energy Team has led the charge to extend the Farm Bill’s Energy Title programs and make these programs work well on the ground.

Learn more at ELPC’s www.FarmEnergy.org.

ELPC, 114 Groups Call on Congress to Renew Farm Bill Clean Energy Programs

Today, ELPC and 114 diverse groups from around the country sent a joint letter to Congress calling for renewal of the clean energy programs in the Farm Bill. Congress Agricultural Committees are working on their third attempt to renew the Farm Bill.

The text of the letter follows and may be downloaded here (PDF).

E&E Talks with ELPC’s Andy Olsen About Farm Energy Bill

House bill gives stalled farm program new life

Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter

A rural energy program that has been largely stalled on Congress’ failure to pass a five-year farm bill would be given new life under legislation being offered by a pair of Democratic lawmakers.

The bill introduced Tuesday by Reps. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and Tim Walz (D-Minn.) would authorize hundreds of millions of dollars to be spent on the Rural Energy for America Program for the next four fiscal years, as well as remove provisions that have discouraged smaller producers from enrolling.

Through the Rural Energy for America Program, the Department of Agriculture provides funding to farmers and ranchers for energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy projects, such as installing wind turbines and solar panels. It is the farm bill’s largest energy program.

“REAP has benefited every state in the nation, and with this bill, REAP can continue driving rural development and helping communities develop clean and reliable local power,” said Andy Olsen, a senior policy advocate at the Environmental Law and Policy Center.

Under H.R. 1273, the REAP program would receive $70 million a year in mandatory funding for each fiscal year between 2014 and 2018, as well as be authorized to receive up to $100 million in discretionary funds during each of those years.

Like the farm bill’s other energy programs, REAP has been in limbo since the beginning of the year, when lawmakers passed only a partial extension as part of the “fiscal cliff” deal. The extension reauthorized the bill’s energy programs but cut all of their mandatory funding, effectively putting new enrollments on hold (Greenwire, Jan. 9).

It is unclear whether Congress will pass a new comprehensive farm bill this year or whether it will punt it again to next year.

Along with providing funding, the Welch-Walz bill would make a few changes to the program to make enrollment easier. It would eliminate a USDA policy of requiring farmers and project owners to install a second electric meter on their property or certify their electricity use, a policy meant to ensure that program funds are not going toward residential use.

The cost of that provision has discouraged farmers from participating, according to the Environmental Law and Policy Center, which has pushed for several years to eliminate the requirement.

The REAP bill also would create a tiered proposal system, making it easier for small farmers competing against large agribusinesses to apply and receive funding, according to a spokesman for Walz’s office. It also would provide more funding toward projects that have “natural resource conservation benefits” beyond energy efficiency.

In a statement yesterday, Welch promoted the bill as a means to boost Vermont’s maple syrup industry. REAP grants have helped producers install reverse osmosis systems that remove water from sap before it is converted to syrup, a process that Welch said reduces the energy consumed in syrup production.

Also yesterday, Welch introduced a measure that would authorize USDA to provide grants for maple research and the marketing of syrup and other maple products.

Available at: http://www.eenews.net/EEDaily/2013/03/21/archive/8

 

House Ag Committee Farm Bill Eliminates Funding For Farm Energy

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.

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The Environmental Law & Policy Center is the Midwest’s leading environmental legal advocacy and eco-business innovation organization.

ELPC Joins National Journal Energy Blog, Talks Farm Bill Energy Title

ELPC recently joined the National Journal’s energy experts blog. In our first post, we take a look at what the Senate Agriculture Committee’s vote on the Farm Bill means for energy in rural America.

The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), in particular, is a success story. It crosses agricultural sectors and provides value in every state. REAP’s competitive cost-share grants have helped support a broad range of 8,000 wind, solar, biogas and energy efficiency projects in rural communities. Since the 2008 Farm Bill, REAP grants have leveraged more than $1 billion in private investments, creating jobs during a historic economic crisis.

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