WASHINGTON – National Farmers Union supports the Rural Energy Investment Act of 2012, introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives today by Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio. The bill would reauthorize the most critical farm bill energy programs that are currently set to expire Sept. 30. The bill’s original co-sponsors include Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, Tim Walz, D-Minn., Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., Leonard Boswell, D-Iowa, Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, Michael Michaud, D-Maine, Laura Richardson, D-Calif., Barbara Lee, D-Calif., Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, Donna Christensen, D-Va., Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., Ben Lujan, D-N.M., Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y., Ron Kind, D-Wis., and Chellie Pingree, D-Maine.
“Energy programs are a critical part of spurring rural economic development, creating many jobs in rural America and giving farmers and ranchers an additional income stream that helps them to stay on their land,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “These energy programs are also critical in helping the United States become more energy independent and utilize cellulosic and advanced biofuels grown right here at home.”
The bill would strengthen and simplify renewable energy programs, including the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) and the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP). According to USDA, REAP created or saved 15,000 jobs over the past nine years.
“These forward-looking and unique programs are successfully leveraging private capital and paving the way for farm-based renewable energy,” said Johnson. “Programs such as REAP, BCAP, the Biorefinery Assistance Program and the Biobased Markets Program are helping to commercialize the next generation of biofuels as they provide critical investment in our rural economies. We urge Congress to pass this bill as quickly as possible.”