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Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act. 2012

Location: Washington, DC

* Mr. INSLEE. Madam Chair, I am concerned about the underlying legislation's attempt to zero out funding for the USDA Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP), in the Agriculture Appropriations bill for FY2012. BCAP is an important economic development program uniquely focused on advanced, next generation biofuels that can be grown, produced, and refined in Washington state. This biomass can be used for heat, power, bio-based products, and biofuels. In fact, it is the only program that helps farmers transition from growing traditional crops to growing energy crops.

* BCAP is vitally important for the development of the clean domestic biomass energy industry. Authorized in Title IX of the 2008 Farm Bill, BCAP received $552 million in FY 2010, but the final Continuing Resolution that passed into law for FY 2011 reduced BCAP funding to $112 million. Today, the House Agriculture Appropriations bill goes further, proposing to eliminate funding for this program in its entirety. I believe that eliminating this program is the wrong direction, and will hinder job creation in the emerging biomass and biofuels industries.

* It is widely agreed that developing a robust sustainable biomass and biofuels industry will produce significant jobs and generate revenues in rural areas. One national study has found that producing 475 million gallons of biofuel in 2009 resulted in 23,000 jobs across the economy, $4.1 billion in added GDP growth, $445 million in Federal tax revenues, and $383 million for State and local governments. Feedstock production would likely represent half the direct jobs, boosting employment in rural areas and small communities.

* For example, in the Pacific Northwest, a coalition of aviation and airline industries, universities, ports and international airports, recently released a report outlining how to commercialize aviation biofuels. Many of the coalition partners are working to bring these aviation biofuels to market and will rely on BCAP, as do countless other biofuel and biomass organizations around the Nation. Because of the prospects for widespread job creation and superb opportunities for positive rural development, I believe that rather than zero out this program, Congress should preserve funding at the Administration's proposed budget of $201 million.

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