Farm bill — Ag Committee gives strong support to energy title

Today at the Agriculture Committee debate on the 2007 Farm Bill (see the live streaming video here), a significant portion of the debate focused on energy —Title IX of the Chairman’s Mark. Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN) expressed his support for including energy and fuel issues in an agriculture bill: “Getting us off foreign oil,” he said, is a goal. Not sure why that’s a goal of the Ag Committee, other than farmers stand to get more subsidies for energy on top of their agriculture subsidies — and on top of massive subsidies already included in energy legislation.

The title provides significant subsidies, grants, and loan guarantees for renewable fuel. Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-VA) was the only member who supported her amendment asking that some of the “unintended consequences of ethanol subsidies” be looked at critically. Rep. Foxx noted that food and feedstock prices have skyrocketed, particularly harming lower income people. In offering her amendment, she said that we are “subsidizing one area and maybe having serious effects on other areas.”

Since there was no support for her amendment, she was asked to withdraw it, which she did.

Here are the specific energy sections:

Sec. 9001. Short title; table of contents.
Sec. 9002. Federal procurement of biobased products.
Sec. 9003. Loan guarantees for biorefineries and biofuel production plants.
Sec. 9004. Energy audit and renewable energy development program.
Sec. 9005. Renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements.
Sec. 9006. Biomass Research and Development Act of 2000.
Sec. 9007. Adjustments to the bioenergy program.
Sec. 9008. Research, extension, and educational programs on biobased energy
technologies and products.
Sec. 9009. Energy Council of the Department of Agriculture.
Sec. 9010. Farm energy production pilot program.
Sec. 9011. Rural energy self-sufficiency initiative.
Sec. 9012. Agricultural biofuels from biomass internship pilot program.
Sec. 9013. Feedstock flexibility program for bioenergy producers.
Sec. 9014. Dedicated ethanol pipeline feasibility studies.