Skip to comments.GOP puts biofuels on the chopping block
Posted on 07/11/2012 7:56:19 PM PDT by rusty millet
Biomass and biofuels groups warn that the loss of $800 million in guaranteed federal support would stall progress in developing the fuel source and cause job losses in rural communities that can least afford it.
The industry claims interest groups such as fossil fuel producers and livestock owners have hijacked the process as the House Agriculture Committee begins a markup of the bill this week.
What is probably more broadly at play is a concerted effort by livestock groups, oil groups and some in the environmental community to denigrate biofuel production, said Matt Hartwig, a spokesman for the Renewable Fuels Association. They spend more money. They have a big microphone.
While the Senate farm bill included mandatory funding of $800 million over five years for energy programs, the House bill offers only discretionary spending on energy programs, while cutting $500 million from the funding level in the 2008 farm bill.
House Republicans say the plans to choke off funding for biofuels and biomass projects reflect the basic fiscal reality that cuts have to come from somewhere.
I think the bottom line is that we had more money when the 08 farm bill was written than we have today, said Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.), the chairman of the House Agriculture subcommittee on Conservation, Energy and Forestry. Under the House Agriculture Committees discussion draft, every program that is eliminated, aside from Repowering Assistance, were one-time studies or programs that were never funded and received no mandatory baseline.
The funding goes toward a variety of loans and grants for bio-refineries and renewable-energy programs, as well as subsidies for dedicated energy crops.
(Excerpt) Read more at thehill.com ...
"Biomass and biofuels groups warn that the loss of $800 million in guaranteed federal support would stall progress in developing the fuel source and cause job losses in rural communities that can least afford it."
What jobs? All 500 of them nationwide? (a generous estimate) What is the real cost of these jobs to the taxpayer? How many could exist without massive subsidies?
"The funding goes toward a variety of loans and grants for bio-refineries and renewable-energy programs, as well as subsidies for dedicated energy crops."
Kill this thing at the Federal research level - USDA and DOE. These federal agencies thrive on a never ending flow of taxpayer dollars that require no practical, economical results. Perpetuating the federal infrastructure and pass-through dollars to Universities maintains the lobbying framework, in spite of the ban on lobbying by federal employees.
Ain't NO farmer gonn'a lose anything.
The jobs are still there and maybe even MORE cereal/dogfood type jobs than before.
Let's get back to feeding the planet like we did when we were Grrrrr- ATE !
Time for another bad experiment to go away. It will lower fuel costs and food costs.
Corn crop and soybean crop are looking bad this summer....it should ALL GO FEED FOR FOOD ANIMALS.
I’m a bit of a fan of biofuels, but still I agree with you. DoE is an bottomless money pit with very little to show for all the investments, yet I can point to several examples of breakthrough innovation in biofuel process development that came from private labs without a dimes worth of gummint money. And having been involved in managing gov’t funded technology programs, I can tell you why it’s more likely to win the lottery than get a business success out of one of these efforts.
The end is here for corn ethanol, and biodiesel will never go anywhere unless a cheap and sustainable non-food feedstock is identified.
The problem with RFA is they, like the Biodiesel Board, spend most (all?) of their efforts and money lobbying for renewable fuel standards (i.e. mandates) that purport to create artificial demand for something that does not exist. If there is ever to be a sustainable market for biofuels, it needs to come from private enterprise, not gummint mandates or subsidies.
A dumb idea from the start that needs to be killed.
We simply cannot afford this kind of stupidity anymore. Never could, really.
Kill ethanol and kill the support tax for wind generation and in two years the economy will work it’s way back to normal.
***...and cause job losses in rural communities that can least afford it.” ****
It failed back in Jimmy Carter’s day it is failing now. If it needs lots of government money to make it work it is not worth it.
Ernest - at least the technology for conversion of corn and soybeans to fuel exists. A major problem comes with the money being thrown at cellulosic feedstocks - sorghum chop, switchgrass, miscanthus, wood chips, etc. The current model is:
Grow crops >> ???? >> Profit from ethanol!
Don’t like using food crops for energy? How about taking land away from food crops for extreme low-efficiency, non-economic fuel production?
High inflated corn prices were the start of “Arab Spring.”
Obama is glad that the public and MSM has no memory past last week’s Idol.
I have had only cursory interaction with DOE, but I participated in setting the research agenda within the USDA Agricultural Research Service. It was bluntly stated that agricultural research was losing relevance and political support. A massive, nationwide lobbying campaign was initiated to gain political support for biofuels research, with the intent of increasing appropriations to the agency.
No, it won’t. The wind energy subsidy costs taxpayers $1.4 billion a year, and the ethanol subsidy is $5.7 billion per year.
Coca Cola spends $3 billion a year advertizing sugar water and Obama wants to spend nearly $4 TRILLION next year.
Killing these subsidies may be the right thing to do, but the fact is, it won’t make a damn bit of different to the economy in 2 years or 20 years.
Coca Cola operates out of their own sales proceeds. Govt spending is not dependent upon success - tax dollars keep flowing in to be spent, regardless of the outcome. Killing these programs alone will not make a long term difference, but the big government tree is composed of a lot of little splinters.
I like the way you think! It really doesn’t matter, from my perspective, whether biofuels are a good idea. Maybe they are. We certainly can’t be experts on everything that goes on in an extremely complex economic system for 300+ million Americans (not to mention the people we trade with throughout the world).
That’s the problem with all these great government ideas. The free market is so much better at finding the best solutions. That isn’t to say government has no role in the economy. For example, it needs to enforce contracts, protect us from thugs, and impose reasonable regulations so that businesses don’t harm us in order to turn a quick buck.
When I read the article, my immediate response was if biofuels are such a great idea, why do they need federal subsidies to survive? I can tell you this. If I knew a way to turn bacteria, swamp grass, or anything else into money makers versus traditional fuels, I’d jump at the chance.
The people pushing biofuels sound remarkably like the guys pushing penny stocks. Big difference: biofuels guys want taxpayers to pay for their get quick rich schemes. That’s SOOOOO much simpler than fleecing private investors. Who knows? Maybe biofuels ARE the next Wal-Mart or whatever. In that case, those who are willing to gamble THEIR money on it would reap the benefits and justifiably so.
Not to mention lowering costs for the Navy....just who, in particular, was responsible for that decision anyway?
Ernie .. yer thinkin’ is too logical ... put down that coffee .. gently ... push away from the computer and go to your room.
Feeding cattle though, it will have an effect. Over the years, much of the feed ration in the Midwest has shifted to distillers grains, or the stuff left over after fermentation. It is actually easier for the cows to eat, and a better feed. The issue is that there are so MANY plants, the feed prices have collapsed. Which means the plants are not making money, and closing down.