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  • Biomassive Energy Subsidies in Farm Bill

    The farm bill, which passed in the Senate yesterday, has little to do with farming and a lot to do with handouts. Energy subsidies? The farm bill’s full of ‘em, particularly in the Title IX energy section, and they all need to go.

    The legislation includes direct handouts and loan guarantees for advanced biofuels and bio-refineries, renewable chemicals, and bio-based product manufacturers. It also reauthorizes the Rural Energy for America Program, which “provides grants for energy audits and renewable energy development assistance. It also provides funds to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements.” In other words, more wasteful green subsidies.

    Also included in the bill are the Biomass Research and Development Initiative and the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP). BCAP is a handout to farmers and ranchers who produce biomass for heat, power, bio-based products, or biofuels. From the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s website:

    BCAP addresses a classic chicken-or-egg challenge around the start up of commercial scale bioenergy activities. If commercial-scale biomass facilities are to have sufficient feedstocks, then a large-scale energy crop must exist. Conversely, if profitable crop production is to occur, then viable consumers must exist to purchase the crop. Many bioenergy facilities need several years to reach commercial scale. BCAP serves as catalyst to unite these dynamics by reducing the financial risk for landowners who decide to grow unconventional crops for these new markets.

    Good economic ideas overcome the chicken-and-egg program all the time without government assistance. It doesn’t matter how many cell phones you have if there’s no place to obtain a signal. But producers built cell phone towers and sold cell phones without a massive subsidy from Washington. The same can happen with biofuels if it’s an economically viable idea.

    All of these handouts are wasteful and unnecessary. We have a robust, diverse energy market that can supply consumers with affordable and reliable energy without the taxpayers’ help. The subsidies are also a product of trying to bail out another disastrous policy: the Renewable Fuel Standard, which mandates production of 36 billion gallons of biofuels (21 billion gallons of that being non-cornstarch) by 2022.

    When President Bush signed the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act, the law mandated that 500 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol be produced in the year 2012. Thus far, zero gallons have been produced, because no companies have been able to produce commercially viable cellulosic ethanol. Because of the government’s inability to predict what the market will produce, the government is handing out even more money in a failed attempt to generate a market.

    Another program, the Rural Energy Savings Program (Section 6202), provides loans for energy efficiency investments. Businesses do not need public investment to improve efficiency and cut costs; they make those investments regularly with their own money. Technological advancements do often improve efficiency, but those investments should not be subsidized by the taxpayer, much less selected by Washington bureaucrats.

    Senator Pat Toomey (R–PA) offered an amendment to repeal the Biorefinery Assistance Program, but the Senate defeated the amendment 33–63. While the farm bill needs much fixing, from an energy standpoint, Congress should repeal all of Title IX from the farm bill as well as the Rural Energy Savings Program.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    5 Responses to Biomassive Energy Subsidies in Farm Bill

    1. Bobbie says:

      How can anyone dispute the economy is held back by Obama's (and his many) ideology and distortion of facts? Remove the obstacles and what do we have? Economic growth…

      He tells Florida "we have to fight for American jobs"? This man and his undermining, insidious acts pulls regulations from thin air stopping economic growth, forcing co. overseas. A president of America should know his place is not to have to say that but just to top it off, the President's unconstitutional actions led to the President's said "fight." It's all deliberate and defenseless when you have a president that stands unaccountable and refuses acknowledgement and advice of the experienced with effective, common sense solutions.

    2. Lloyd Scallan says:

      Noooooooo! You're not suggesting that the latest debacle passed by Congress has a hidden aganda? That sounds eerily farmilar. Can we all remember way back to something called ObamaCare? I think we're seen this movie before. Isn't it great living in the times of Obama? So much trust and confidence
      in our government. It's just wonderful.

    3. ToucheTurtle says:

      I would just LOVE to blame the farm bill onto Obama and his outrageous handouts for green energy, BUT it is our OTHER elected officials, people who live in our own states, who have betrayed us by passing this bill which is so badly named. If they want to make it a farm/ranch bill, then make sure it only effects farming and ranching. If they want ANOTHER energy bill, then call it by what it is! By the time we get done "handing out free tax money" to every entity who knows how to work the system, the rest of us will be broke and be on the gov't dole as well. WHO WILL PAY TAXES when we are broke?????

      As usual this bill is so complicated that the average person has no idea of how to even begin to know what is in it. And if our current elected officials DON'T know then they need to be replaced because they didn't read and UNDERSTAND it! And if they do KNOW, then they need to be replaced for voting for something which is in direct conflict with what the American people want them to do!!!

      It looks to me like the only way we are going to clean up Washington is to do what the progressives are doing: bottom up, top down, inside out – REPLACE THEN ALL and then if there are a few good ones from those we threw out, let them COMPETE to return on in open and balanced race against patriotic Americans who want to SAVE our country!!!! I don't know about you, but I am TIRED of being taxed to death, and then hearing the "powers that be" say the ONLY SOLUTION is tax some more! The sad fact is that almost NO ONE in Washington at the current time is really interested in CUTTING spending so we can live within our means!

      I, for one, am going to vote for "anyone but" the current old guard from my state – no matter what party they represent. I am fed up, and it starts NOW!!! We cannot "wait and see" if they do better with the next class of newbies on the job. We have to clean house and DEMAND that they do their job OR ELSE . . . . every single election from now on. . . no quarter given for ignorance!!!

    4. Mac Osmer says:

      Are the bio-mass supporters required to submit an environmental impact study to the EPA before breaking ground for a project?

    5. Mike, Wichita Falls says:

      "the law mandated that 500 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol be produced in the year 2012. Thus far, zero gallons have been produced, because no companies have been able to produce commercially viable cellulosic ethanol."

      Before statists run industries, they must first impose impossible goals. When those industries can't deliver as dictated, then the statists "have no choice" but to run them "for the public good". Mortgages, student loans, auto, health insurance, healthcare…what next?

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