April 08, 2005

CRAPO PRESSES RURAL ENERGY, ECONOMICS

Notes wind, biofuels energy projects & job creation

Washington, DC â?? The future expansion of renewable energy will come in large part from rural America and Idaho Senator Mike Crapo is teaming with a bipartisan group of Senators seeking full funding for energy and economic programs that are already bearing fruit under the 2002 Farm Bill. Crapo and the group of 16 other Senators are writing the leadership of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development and Related Agencies, asking appropriators to maintain the high level of success that has been produced by Section 9006 of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002, commonly known as the 2002 Farm Bill.â??During its first two years, Section 9006 leveraged about $44 million in grants into more than $300 million in clean energy projects, including projects in Idaho,â?? Crapo noted. â??Those projects are estimated to produce more than 500 jobs nationwide, while producing 250 megawatts of wind power, anaerobic digesters and biofuels projects that benefit the environment.â??Crapo noted American agriculture not only leads the world in production abilities, but these grants have made agriculture a leader in renewable energy innovations. â??The greatest strength of Americaâ??s agriculture has always been the entrepreneurial skill of its farmers and ranchers,â?? Crapo added. â??The high cost of energy is being felt in farming operations and this program is an important part of the effort to develop on-farm energy sources. These grants produce major economic, environmental, and energy benefits and support should be a priority within a responsible appropriations bill.â??The Senate is beginning to act on appropriations and authorization work at the Committee level, prompting Crapo and others to remind their colleagues of the benefits of Section 9006 and other programs in the federal budget. The letter was sent to Chairman Robert Bennett (R-Utah) and Ranking Member Herb Kohl (D-Wisconsin).