March 24, 2006

Crapo: Renewable Energy Deserves Full Funding

Teams with bipartisan group seeking funding for ethanol, biodiesel, wind & solar power projects

Washington, DC â?? A bipartisan coalition of Senators led by Idahoâ??s Mike Crapo and Iowaâ??s Tom Harkin is asking Senate appropriators to ensure programs improving renewable energy production and resulting economic development receive the full funding possible in the coming fiscal year. Crapo and 21 other Senators signing the letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, and Related Agencies, note that Section 9006 of the 2002 Farm Bill has expanded the use of renewable energy such as wind, solar power, ethanol and biodiesel.â??This renewable energy program creates jobs in rural America, saves energy, and produces a cleaner environment,â?? said Crapo, who is Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Forestry, Conservation and Rural Revitalization. â??The Section 9006 program has already helped to produce more than 170 million gallons a year of ethanol and biofuels and more than 300 megawatts of wind power. The 150 energy efficiency projects, including some in my home state of Idaho, have saved America millions of dollars in energy costs. We must continue this record of success to work for energy independence.â?? Crapo noted he heard strong support for renewable energy when he toured Idaho earlier this year to take comment on Farm Bill programs.The Senators are calling for minimum funding of $23 million to continue the renewable energy programs. In the letter to Senate appropriators, they note that over the past three years, Section 9006 programs invested nearly $62 million in 270 projects that brought an estimated return of nearly $834 million, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates. A copy of the Senatorsâ?? letter, which is signed by Senator Larry Craig, is enclosed.# # #To directly link to this news release, please use the following address: 24, 2006The Honorable Robert BennettThe Honorable Herb KohlSenate Appropriations SubcommitteeAgriculture, Rural Development and Related AgenciesSenate Dirksen 188Dear Chairman Bennett and Ranking Member Kohl:We are writing to urge you to fully fund the valuable Section 9006 Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements program for FY2007. Section 9006 is helping our farmers and rural businesses produce clean energy, cut costs, and boost economic development. Section 9006 enjoys strong bipartisan support in Congress and among a broad range of farm, environmental, energy, consumer and state government organizations. The program promotes the goals of the President=s Advanced Energy Initiative by encouraging expansion of renewable energy, including wind, ethanol and biodiesel, and solar power. Energy security is front and center in our concerns as we look at the challenges facing our nation and our constituents, and Section 9006 serves the national interest in a secure energy future by teaming with America=s agriculture sector to contribute to our country=s energy supply. As the first agricultural program to significantly increase investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency for the farm and rural business sectors, Section 9006 is already a success. During its first three years, Section 9006 invested $61.8 million in 270 renewable energy projects, leveraging more than $833.7 million, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). These projects are estimated to include the following benefits:_170 million gallons annually of ethanol and biodiesel fuel production;_300+ megawatts of wind power;_Millions of dollars in energy savings from 150 energy efficiency projects.We recognize that the Subcommittee faces budgetary constraints, and we believe that full funding for this program should be a reasonable priority within a fiscally responsible appropriations bill. This year, with even stronger demand for agriculture-based energy solutions, we urge you to include not less than $23 million for this unique, widely supported and successful program.Sincerely,CosignersHarkinCrapoCantwellDurbinBaucusLugarBayhColemanDaytonNelsonClintonGrassleySalazarCraigDewineLiebermanHagelJohnsonBunningConradObamaLeahy