Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today said that advanced, non-food based biofuels are critical to growing our economy, creating jobs and lowering prices at the pump for American consumers. Stabenow noted the 2014 Farm Bill, which was signed into law in February, included a robust energy title which is helping farmers and businesses to increase production of energy from non-food sources, boost rural economies and spur continued growth of a new, domestic energy sector that will reduce the need for foreign oil.
“We’ve heard for years that advanced biofuels are just around the corner. Well, we’re here. We’re at the point where it’s actually happening,” Chairwoman Stabenow said. “American companies are creating jobs and growing rural economies while producing advanced biofuels, which ultimately help us become more energy independent and lower our gas prices at the pumps.”
Stabenow pointed to an Iowa State University study which found that using ethanol reduced the cost of gas by 89 cents across the country, and by as much as $1.37 in the Midwest.
“These are enormous savings for American families. In the U.S., we consumed about 138 billion gallons of gasoline in 2010. That comes out to about 446 gallons per person, or 892 gallons for a family of four. That family would have saved $794 in 2010 because of biofuels. According to USDA figures, that $794 comes out to be the cost of 2 to 5 weeks’ worth of groceries.”
The 2014 Farm Bill, authored by Chairwoman Stabenow, included significant new investments in renewable energy programs which are helping farmers and businesses generate on-farm energy by harnessing new technologies. An overview of the Farm Bill’s energy initiatives can be found here.
“To continue growing this industry, we need policies that support it,” Chairwoman Stabenow said. “This Committee and Congress took an important first step by passing the Farm Bill with funding for the Energy Title, now we need to provide certainty through a strong Renewable Fuel Standard and tax credits to support long term investments in our energy future.”
Witnesses at the hearing included Mr. Richard Childress, CEO, Richard Childress Racing, LLC, Welcome, NC; Mr. Jan Koninckx, Global Business Director for Biorefineries, DuPont Industrial Biosciences, Wilmington, DE; Mr. Brooke Coleman, Executive Director, Advanced Ethanol Council, Boston, MA; Dr. Sumesh Arora, Vice President, Innovate Mississippi; Director of Strategic Biomass Solutions, Ridgeland, MS; and Ms. Nancy Young, Vice President, Environmental Affairs, Airlines for America, Washington, DC.
An archived webcast of the hearing can be viewed on the Committee’s website at http://ag.senate.gov.