Senate Ag Committee approves funding for BCAP, REAP
The Senate Agricultural Committee passed legislation April 26 that could restore funding to the Biomass Crop Assistance Program and the Rural Energy for America Program.
Through a 16-5 vote, the committee approved a version of the 2012 Farm Bill with an amended Energy Title calling for mandatory energy program funding.
The amendment calls for roughly $800 million and, with a minimum of 10 percent and maximum of 50 percent allocated to the collection, harvest, storage and transportation portion of BCAP.
The Biomass Thermal Energy Council welcomed the decision by the Senate Agricultural Committee. “Previous Farm Bill programs have successfully accelerated deployment of advanced biomass thermal technologies and fuels to rural communities and agricultural businesses, where they’ve reduced energy costs, leveraged private investments, and created jobs,” said Joseph Seymour, BTEC executive director.
The amendment, introduced by Sens. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., and Dick Lugar, R-Ind., had several cosponsors from Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Ohio and Nebraska. The National Farmers Union also voiced its support for the amendment, noting that BCAP and REAP are successfully spurring rural economic development, creating jobs and increasing the nation’s energy security.
Seymour said that BTEC will continue to support the bill as it moves on for further approval.