Energy and biofuels groups from across the country are praising the inclusion of significant biofuels subsidies in the upcoming farm bill, stating that their inclusion is a major step forward in American energy independence.
The approval of the 2012 Farm Bill ran into a snag earlier this week when opposition from Southern politicians and from several key Midwestern politicians threatened to derail the bill before it even left committee. While Southern politicians were concerned about the weakness of safety net programs for peanut and rice farmers, Senators from the Corn Belt were worried that the proposed bill eliminated federal biofuels subsidies.
An amendment proposed by Senators Kent Conrad and Dick Lugar restored $800 million in biofuels subsidies and continued funding for programs that encouraged farmers to become energy efficient. The amendment passed assuaged enough doubters to guarantee passage of the final bill on a voice vote.
Energy groups praised the inclusion. The American Energy Coalition stated that, “There is no question these initiatives will continue to pay off, through new jobs and businesses, increased private capital investment and reduced energy costs.”
The bill now moves out of committee and to a vote on the Senate floor, where its proposects are iffy. Southern senators, along with fiscal conservatives unhappy at the lack of subsidy cuts, could block the bill and filibuster it, delaying new farm programs and jeopardizing vital support and subsidies.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer