Okay, the long anticipated new climate change Senate bill authored by Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) was finally unveiled. The American Power Act at first glance does appear to be an improvement over the House bill (Waxman-Markey) in that there appears to be added certainty on offsets. Kerry and Lieberman tout the bill as a jobs bill and a step toward achieve energy security, while reducing carbon pollution by 17 percent in 2020 and by over 80 percent in 2050. Unlike W-M, the Kerry-Lieberman bill enumerates a specific and lengthy list of eligible offset categories. K-L also addresses offset regulation in a way that weaves together both EPA regulatory and USDA oversight responsibilities, ultimately, in a step likely to annoy both the agriculture and environment community, requiring consultations between the two in most cases for offset designation and removal. As expected, and basically mandated by farming groups and their congressional champions, the USDA is given the primary role over agricultural and forest offset approval, while the EPA has a similar role over other offsets. Time will tell whether this complicated approach in which USDA may be required to take on the unsavory role of a regulatory agency is workable. My guess is that it will not work as proposed. On the bright side is the provision making environmental consideration of offsets is still in place for sequestration projects, especially to protect habitat and native species. In general environmental considerations may even be stronger then W-M.
Cattlemen Praise Confirmation of Gov. Perdue for USDA Secretary
Craig Uden, president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, today praised the Senate confirmation of former Gov. Sonny Perdue to lead the U.S. Department of Agriculture:“Decisions made every day at the USDA have a significant impact on our ability to run our operations. We are excited to have a Secretary that comes from the industry, understands the complexities of our business, and is willing to stand up and fight for the hard-working men and women in rural America. We are looking forward to...
NCC Ready to work with new Agriculture Secretary
The National Cotton Council congratulates former Georgia governor Sonny Perdue on his nomination for Secretary of Agriculture."Our industry looks forward to working with Governor Perdue as he leads USDA to help ensure a strong and viable agricultural and rural economy, including important actions necessary for the stabilization of the U.S. cotton industry," NCC Chairman Shane Stephens said. "It is encouraging to see a Secretary of Agriculture nominee with a strong production agriculture and agribusiness background...
USDA Funding Leads To First Wood-To-Jet Fuel Commercial Flight
On November 14, 2016, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and its partners celebrated the successful journey of the first commercial flight powered in part by a new renewable fuel made from wood waste. The demonstration flight, operated by Alaska Airlines, was made possible due to a five-year $39.6 million research project to develop a viable renewable fuel source from cellulose-rich wood harvest leftovers funded by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture and led by Washington State University...
USDA Invests Over $300 Million to Help Hundreds of Small Businesses Improve Energy Efficiency, Adopt Renewable Energy Systems
November 3, 2016 -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on October 25th announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing more than $300 million to help hundreds of small businesses across the country save money on their energy costs by adopting renewable sources or implementing more efficient energy options. "Cutting our energy waste is one of the fastest, easiest and cheapest ways to help families save money on their energy bills while reducing harmful carbon pollution. Over the course of...
USDA Provides $3.6 Billion for Electric Projects in 31 States
November 3, 2016 -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced on October 26 that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is providing $3.6 billion in loans to fund 82 electric projects in 31 states. These loans will finance infrastructure upgrades, create jobs and improve system operations for rural electric customers nationwide. "For 80 years, rural electric utilities have provided reliable and affordable electricity to help rural communities increase productivity and build stronger economies," Vilsack...