House Subcommittee Hearing Highlights Renewables Impact on Rural America

Nov 19, 2021  | 3 min  | Ep4714

After a campaign promise to the contrary, the Biden Administration opened part of the oil reserve in the Gulf of Mexico for drilling to the tune of $192 million in leases.

Even as the automotive industry changes lanes to building more electric vehicles, those who push for renewable sources went to Washington.

Josh Buettner has the story.

Rep. Glenn Thompson/R-Pennsylvania: “I must stress that the farmers, ranchers and landowners in my district cannot supply the world’s food and fiber without 24/7 access to reliable and affordable energy.”

This week, a House Agriculture subcommittee convened farm and energy interests to underscore the crucial relationship of renewable fuels to rural economies as lawmakers wrangle over the next phase in President Biden’s ambitious domestic agenda.

Rep. Cindy Axne/D-Iowa: “As Congress debates the Build Back Better Act this week, what kind of benefits can we expect from the billion dollar investment in biofuels infrastructure within the bill itself?”

Emily Skor/CEO-Growth Energy/Washington, D.C.: “It really would unleash the power of biofuels.  It gives us the ability to work with our retail partners to accelerate the market inclusion of E15, which is a lower-cost, lower-carbon, high-value fuel choice for consumers.”

Though this summer an appeals court nixed the Trump Administration’s 2019 approval of year-round E15 ethanol sales, lobbyists champion the Year-Round Fuel choice act, introduced in the House this summer, which would restore the executive order remnant.

Despite White House intentions to electrify the nation’s fleet, renewables advocates cite government reports that most cars will run on liquid fuels through 2050, but biofuels can bridge the gap for emissions targets.  Supporters lauded the Renewable Fuel Standard, which led to the buildout of over 200 bio-refineries across 27 states, with a 17 billion gallon capacity utilizing tens of billions of dollars in domestic crops, like corn, annually.

The committee was informed of the benefits of other renewables, such as solar, in conjunction with food production.  Participants expressed the importance of accountability as Congressional decisions percolate in rural areas.

Gary Wheeler/Executive Director/Missouri Soybean Association: “Whether it’s biodiesel or increased E15, it really boils down to resources being laser-focused – and making sure those dollars are being spent where they need to be spent.”

For Market to Market, I’m Josh Buettner.

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