Biomass, biofuels industries react to election results

By Anna Simet | November 07, 2012

Barack Obama has been elected to a second term as president of the U.S., prompting optimistic reactions from biomass and biofuels industries, even with the divided status of Congress remaining unchanged.  

Michael McAdams, president of the Advanced Biofuel Association, said he is optimistic of Obama’s re-election, as he has consistently voiced support of the industry, especially during his most recent campaign. “Over the last four years he has worked to create a broader renewable fuels industry across the board, and specifically, during the last month he has repeatedly mentioned advanced biofuels as being a core component of a national energy strategy,” McAdams said. “I think that bodes for a bright future for the advanced biofuel industry in the U.S.”

While Congress still remains divided with the Democrats in control of the Senate and Republicans of the House, McAdams said he thinks the American people have gotten the message across to Congress that the parties need to work together to solve problems. “Biofuels shouldn’t be a partisan issue, and I’m hoping some of that is diminished following this election. I’m hoping we can return to the conversation of how to build a broad energy policy in the U.S. that will lead us to energy independence, and it’s possible now for the first time in history.”

McAdams said that while Congress is still split, he is hoping that since Gov. Mitt Romney stated he would support the renewable fuel standard (RFS) if elected, Republicans in Congress will take that to heart and follow suit. “I think we have an opportunity to revisit some issues next year, and I feel confident the RFS is a piece of our energy policy that will continue to be there moving forward,” he said.

The RFS is just one of many industry-relevant issues up for discussion next year, which includes the tax code and the renewable fuel strategies of the U.S. Department of Defense. “The re-election of Obama speaks very well for the continued effort of the DOD, and the re-election of Stabenow and others who have an energy title in the Farm Bill buoyed those efforts,” McAdams said.

The industry will begin to make progress with the start of the new year, from McAdams’ perspective. “And perhaps we will be able switch from the defensive to the offensive, which will be a nice change from the past two years,” he added.

Bob Cleaves, president of the Biomass Power Association, said that BPA is still evaluating the election results, and what they will mean for biomass. “[We] look forward to continuing our work with established biomass champions in the House and Senate, and we hope to work more closely with the Obama Administration over the next four years,” Cleaves said. “Overall, we expect a similar legislative atmosphere to what we've seen over the past two years, with a solidly Republican House and a Senate without a clear majority. We’re eager to build a relationship with newly-elected industry advocates like Senator-elect Angus King, (I-Maine) and Congresswoman-elect Ann McLane Kuster (D-N.H.)."

Cleaves added that It will be interesting to see if there is a heightened focus on developing renewable energy in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, and the indications that it may have been caused by global warming.