A broad coalition of advocacy groups, ranging from farm organizations, commodity groups, environmental movements, and clean energy lobbyists, have petitioned Congress to include ample funding for renewable energy programs in the 2012 Farm Bill.
Over 100 organizations, representing a broad cross-section of American political life, urged Congress to continue funding over 37 renewable energy programs that are set to expire in September, when the current provisions of the 2008 Farm Bill end. The problem that these programs face, energy advocates say, is that unlike other farm programs, they are not connected to mandatory funding baselines. This means that in order to continue funding these programs, Congress will need to offset their costs with cuts from other sectors.
Given the current pressure to cut several billion dollars from the agricultural budget, many environmentalists are worried that Congress will be unable to find the political will to continue funding vital, but relatively obscure energy programs.
In a statement by National Farmers Union president Roger Johnson, “Renewable energy is a tremendous opportunity to help our rural communities thrive by providing them with additional sources of income. These programs are vital not only to rural America, but they also provide us with a clean, homegrown fuel that helps America become more energy independent, which is critical for national security. These programs need our support.”
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer