Washington D.C.- Congressman Bob Goodlatte, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, hailed the passage today of the Energy Policy Act saying it is a boon for rural America and job creation.
The legislation includes provisions crucial to the agriculture sector including the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and renewable energy tax provisions.
The RFS will increase over time the contribution of ethanol and biodiesel, a clean-burning alternative fuel made from domestic renewable fuel sources, to our nation's fuel supply, so that by 2012, 5 billion gallons of renewable fuels would be required. The mandate would begin at 3.1 billion gallons in 2005.
It is estimated that the renewable fuel standard in the bill will create more than 200,000 new jobs and expand household income by additional $51.7 billion over the next decade. Additionally, the increased use of ethanol will save 1.3 billion barrels of oil by 2016, improve the trade deficit by $28.5 billion over 15 years, add $135 billion to the American economy by 2016 through increased agricultural demand and new capital spending, and generate $32 billion in income for American consumers over 15 years.
"I am pleased with final House passage of the Energy bill. It is good for American agriculture and for our rural communities as a whole," Goodlatte said. "This critical legislation will increase the vitality of our rural economies and serve as the underpinning for greater national economic growth."
The legislation also included critical renewable fuel tax provisions, which ensure that renewable fuels pay the full amount of user excise taxes levied to the Highway Trust Fund (HTF). When implemented in its entirety, this provision will generate more than $2 billion per year in additional HTF revenue to go towards improvements in our nation's transportation network.
The legislation modifies the small ethanol producer tax credit, thereby enabling cooperatives to pass along the credit to farmer owners and provides a new tax incentive for biodiesel.
It extends the production tax credit for alternative fuels to producers of electricity from wind, biomass (including livestock waste nutrients), and methane derived from farm wastes.
In an effort to protect rural electric coops from unnecessary costs and regulations, language in the electricity title provides protection for the rights of transmission owners and transmission dependent utilities, and allows for additional certainty for electric cooperatives in a changing utilities marketplace.
The Energy Bill passed the House by a vote of 246-180, and now heads to the Senate for final passage.