House subcommittee drops Farm Bill energy programs in budget
Late today the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies approved a bill which would eliminate funding for the Rural Energy for America Program and the Biomass Crop Assistance Program. These programs are vital for rural America’s involvement in the new clean energy economy and fulfilling our shared goal of producing 25 percent of our nation’s energy from farms, forests, and ranches by 2025.
In addition to providing grants and loan guarantees for farm or small business-based renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, REAP was recently changed to include funding for ethanol and biodiesel blending pumps. The Biomass Crop Assistance Program provides support to stimulate energy crop plantings.
Overall, the House Appropriations bill would cut agriculture funding by approximately $2.6 billion, or 13% relative to the final FY 2011 budget. While 25x’25 recognizes the need to address the mounting federal deficit, spending cuts must be fair, proportional, and in alignment with national priorities. The total elimination of federal investments in priority Farm Bill energy programs is a short-sighted move that will undermine recovery and national security and short circuit ongoing efforts to break our dependence on foreign oil.
The bill will now go to the full House Appropriations Committee for mark-up on May 31st and will still need to pass the Senate before being enacted. As a 25x’25 partner, we urge you to contact members of the House Appropriations Committee as well as senators to tell them to protect these crucial programs.