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house Bill H.R. 82

Should Biofuel Subsidies in the Farm Bill Be Eliminated?

Argument in favor

Energy subsidies distort the market, allowing non-competitive fuels (such as biofuels) to look like better solutions than they actually are. The federal government shouldn’t be providing any energy subsidies at all — instead, it should let the free market determine and invest in the best energy solutions.

John's Opinion
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03/29/2019
I don’t understand why we have any farm subsidies at all. Farming is a business. Until we live in a socialist country, government should not be subsiding businesses.
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480G's Opinion
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03/30/2019
All subsidies should be eliminated. Business should succeed or fail on it's own in a free and open market. Our tax dollars should not be used to subsidize any business segment especially when our law makers can't balance a budget and we're over $22 TRILLION in debt.
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Ronald's Opinion
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03/29/2019
"Biofuels " are a poor replacement to fossil fuels. They don't work as well, and cause just as much, or more pollution. End such subsidies. Encourage food crop planting.
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Argument opposed

Federal investment has enabled significant advances in biofuel technologies. Given the growing impacts of climate change, and the biofuel industry’s growth, now is the wrong time to back away from federal support for biofuels.

Michael's Opinion
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03/29/2019
We are supposed to be encouraging things that get us off fossil fuels.
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James's Opinion
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03/29/2019
Why would anyone in their right mind support this bill. Stop drilling for oil, no more fracking, cut subsidies for big oil, big pharma, listen to the people who put you in to represent them or be replaced by responsible adults who haven’t been tainted by lobbyists who feel greed is more important than life on the planet. This bill is so out of touch with where we need to be heading .its laughable if it weren’t so serious
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IllWill's Opinion
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03/29/2019
And yet these same politicians would want to maintain the subsidies for the oil and gas sector. We need to maintain investments in renewable energy like biofuels and expand them even further especially in solar, wind, and geothermal!
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Energy
      Committee on Agriculture
      Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit
    IntroducedJanuary 3rd, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 82?

This bill, the Farewell to Unnecessary Energy Lifelines (FUEL) Reform Act, would eliminate the biofuel energy subsidies in title IX of the Farm Bill.

The subsidies that’d be eliminated would be:

  • Biobased Markets Program;

  • Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical, and Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance Program;

  • Repowering Assistance Program;

  • Biorefinery Program for Advanced Biofuels;

  • Biodiesel Fuel Education Program;

  • Rural Energy for America Program;

  • Biomass Research and Development Initiative;

  • Feedstock Flexibility Program for Bioenergy Producers;

  • Biomass Crop Assistance Program; and

  • Community Wood Energy Program.

Impact

Energy industry; biofuels; farm bill; DOE; and USDA.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 82

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) reintroduced this bill from the 115th Congress to save American taxpayers money and end the market perversions created by biofuels subsidies:

“The biofuels subsidies in the farm bill don’t benefit the market; instead, they pervert it. If biofuels succeed, it should be based on their benefit to our nation’s energy economy, not because they have received taxpayer-funded handouts. I’ve introduced this bill to end this wasteful D.C. giveaway once and for all.”

The Heritage Foundation’s Nicolas Loris argues that this bill ends “energy cronyism”:

“The farm bill, which moves through the legislative process every five years, is a major vehicle for energy subsidization. Since 2002, farm bills have contained an energy title that primarily funds biofuels, but also include so-called green technologies such as wind and solar energies. The FUEL Reform Act moves energy policy in the right direction by eliminating energy cronyism in the farm bill. Examination of the farm bill’s energy programs reveals that these programs have squandered taxpayer money on economic failures and promoted corporate welfare by distributing funds to established and successful companies. The use of policy to prop up one energy source over another is misguided—regardless of the outcome of a government-funded project… Energy subsidies themselves are an inappropriate function of the federal government. The subsidies distort energy markets and the flow of investments. Projects promoted by the government draw interest from the private sector, taking money away from other potential investments. Historically, the market has always met America’s energy needs, and it will continue to do so without the government’s help. Congress should eliminate Title IX and the Sun Grant Program in the farm bill and aggressively pursue reforms that will eliminate subsidies for all energy sources.”

In testimony to the House Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee in July 2017, Dr. Paul Gilna, Director of the BioEnergy Science Center (BECA) and Deputy-Division Director of Biosciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, argued that federal support is necessary for biofuel development:

“Federal leadership in scientific research has resulted in substantial progress toward a better understanding of the fundamentals behind the biofuels production process. That progress will continue with the new generation of BRCs, focused on new bioproducts and advanced biofuels. We have demonstrated that improvements in plants, microbes, and processes can lead to more efficient production of domestic biofuels, further diversifying the nation’s portfolio of reliable, clean energy and making possible a new menu of bioproducts. Currently, the U.S. is the leader in both research, development and deployment of the rural bio-based economy. However, others are accelerating their efforts. Together, we can succeed in bringing the best of our nation’s scientific understanding and engineering prowess to bear on deploying the next generation of bioproducts and clean energy technologies for strengthening our economic foundation, U.S. competitiveness, and our way of life.”

Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy, added in the same House testimony that the biofuels industry has begun to meaningfully contribute to the American fuel supply and jobs:

“We are producing more than 10 percent of our nation’s fuel supply, providing 339,000 American jobs and reducing our dependence on foreign oil. Under the RFS, ethanol production continues to become more efficient while advancing more toward second generation biofuels and increased sustainability, and we continue to find new, innovative ways to increase our product mix. Now is the time to give biofuels more access to the marketplace, so that we can compete and provide additional fuel certainty and stability. It is the wrong time to back away from [biofuels]... Doing so would only harm further investment, jeopardize the market for American farmers and producers, and potentially threaten the significant environmental progress that has been made with the introduction of ethanol and renewable fuels.”

This bill has no cosponsors in the current Congress. In the 115th Congress, it had the support of eight cosponsors, all of whom were Republicans.


Of NoteOpponents of energy subsidies argue that the farm bill’s energy programs have “squandered taxpayer money on economic failures” such as Range Fuels, a wood-to-ethanol producer that cost taxpayers over $75 million in Dept. of Energy and Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) loans when it closed in 2011. They also argue that farm bill energy programs have “promoted corporate welfare by distributing funds to established and successful companies” such as Coskata, an energy company that received $250 million from the USDA while also having backing from General Motors and billionaire venture capitalist Vinod Khosla.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / lamyai)

AKA

FUEL Reform Act

Official Title

To repeal the Department of Agriculture bioenergy subsidy programs and other related subsidy programs.

    I don’t understand why we have any farm subsidies at all. Farming is a business. Until we live in a socialist country, government should not be subsiding businesses.
    Like (68)
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    Share
    We are supposed to be encouraging things that get us off fossil fuels.
    Like (82)
    Follow
    Share
    Why would anyone in their right mind support this bill. Stop drilling for oil, no more fracking, cut subsidies for big oil, big pharma, listen to the people who put you in to represent them or be replaced by responsible adults who haven’t been tainted by lobbyists who feel greed is more important than life on the planet. This bill is so out of touch with where we need to be heading .its laughable if it weren’t so serious
    Like (71)
    Follow
    Share
    And yet these same politicians would want to maintain the subsidies for the oil and gas sector. We need to maintain investments in renewable energy like biofuels and expand them even further especially in solar, wind, and geothermal!
    Like (47)
    Follow
    Share
    All subsidies should be eliminated. Business should succeed or fail on it's own in a free and open market. Our tax dollars should not be used to subsidize any business segment especially when our law makers can't balance a budget and we're over $22 TRILLION in debt.
    Like (44)
    Follow
    Share
    "Biofuels " are a poor replacement to fossil fuels. They don't work as well, and cause just as much, or more pollution. End such subsidies. Encourage food crop planting.
    Like (26)
    Follow
    Share
    Any fuel is better than coal,gas,oil😩
    Like (23)
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    How about we stop subsidizing fossil fuels and corn? That would actually be effective.
    Like (21)
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    If the biofuel industry cannot continue to produce fuel without government subsidies, we should seriously examine whether or not to continue them. However, before we pull the rug out from under biofuels, we need to cease government support for fossil fuels. From this point forward, any energy source that receives government subsidies should produce green energy, and we need to learn to live on what is produced! If an energy source is contributing to greenhouse gases and global warming, government subsidies that support it must cease. All of our efforts and national financing resources should be turned toward producing fuels and energy that do not contribute to climate change! Please vote to support this bill.
    Like (18)
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    “WHAT’S GOOD FOR THE GOOSE IS ALSO GOOD FOR THE GANDER DEMOCRATS” I’ve a great idea Folks........ Let’s stop 🛑 subsidizing ALL alternative energy power sources, including but not limited to , the following Democratic supported Alternative Energy Sources:....... * Solar Power. * Nuclear Power. * Hydroelectric Energy. * Wave Energy. * Biofuels. Just an Alternative Solution to the banning subsidizing Fossil Fuels. SneakyPete .......... 3*30*19...........
    Like (13)
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    Funding for biofuels needs to be increased, not eliminated. There are plenty of sources for biofuels, such as switchgrass, that are not in the food chain. Reality is farmers want to be paid for corn as biofuel same as for food and grain. Can’t blame them. But there needs to be more emphasis on biofuels as an alternative to oil as a flex fuel until electric vehicles are established.
    Like (13)
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    This is one of many paths one can take to mitigate climate change. Of course, this Republican sponsored bill would want biofuels gone to support gas and oil. Irresponsible and unamerican for squelching innovation.
    Like (12)
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    No industry should be subsidized by the taxpayers. Let the market sort out the winners and losers.
    Like (11)
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    Subsidizing an industry that is destroying all life on this planet is not my idea of a good decision. Subsidizing biofuel that prefers to cover up the catastrophes it produces rather than clean them up is not my idea of a good way to spend money. While we’re at it, subsidizing “gentleman farmers“ who never farmed, but are wealthy, and collect money for owning property is not my favorite either. How the rich get richer is actually shocking.
    Like (11)
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    This should be part of our energy plan. Cut subsides to big oil.
    Like (10)
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    If it’s truly meant to be a Farewell to Unnecessary Fuel Lines bill, then aim it at all fossil fuels. Tell those limited resources that they are the past. Introduce bills aimed at improving and implementing clean energy.
    Like (8)
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    No biofuel subsidies should not be eliminated
    Like (8)
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    SneakyPete at it again showing he’s a paid repugnant mouth piece going against what’s best for the American people. We need to move away from petroleum based fuels, to new cleaner renewable energy sources, before it’s too late. Being green has zero downsides, except for the fossil fuel industry gradually dwindling, as new green technologies ramp up becoming cheaper and more practical.
    Like (7)
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    Biofuels don’t require fracking. They are renewable. Why would we not invest in something so much more benign than oil and coal?
    Like (7)
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    Agricultural has a huge effect on both our economy and our environment. Agriculture is suffering now economically through tariffs, bankruptcies, the need to be hugely subsidized, poor farm management tools, massive agribusiness and oh yeah CLIMATE CHANGE. Supporting this bill would mean taking away one more useful tool in the farming toolbox and increasing the damaging effects of climate change. With the reintroduction of hemp into the biofuels mix we can lower the cost and run an even cleaner biofuel. Now you can ignore science till the cows come home but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. This bill is irresponsible at best and I’m catching a hint of lobbyist cash smell from oil and gas in the bill.
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