WASHINGTON, D.C.– In response to the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, the American Biogas Council (ABC), the trade association for the US biogas industry, released the following statement. Biogas systems recycle organic material like food and yard waste, sewage sludge and animal manure, producing renewable energy in addition to valuable soil products.
The American Biogas Council (ABC) applauds the four principal negotiators, members of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees, and House and Senate leadership on the final passage of the 2018 farm bill. We are grateful that the Committees were able to work through a bipartisan process to pass legislation that not only contained an Energy Title but also mandatory funding for many programs that support the biogas industry. In particular, we were pleased to see that the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), the Biorefinery Assistance program, the BioPreferred program, and the Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuel were reauthorized and provided with critically important mandatory funding.
However, we remain disappointed that other programs that support our industry such as Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) and the Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI) were only reauthorized and did not receive mandatory funding. We hope to address these deficiencies in the 116th Congress. We also look to ensure that REAP receives a much-needed Reserve Fund for underserved technologies.
Finally, we would like to particularly thank the efforts of Senators Michael Bennet (CO) and Sheldon Whitehouse (RI). Together they introduced the Carbon Utilization Act of 2018 and worked to include important parts of the final farm bill package. Through their efforts, the conference report contains language directing USDA, DOE and EPA to establish an Interagency Biogas Task Force building upon the existing Biogas Opportunities Working Group. The Task Force is directed to coordinate policies and programs to accelerate biogas research and investments into biogas systems. Furthermore, the bill contained an authorization for $1 million for each fiscal year 2019 – 2023 to provide education to agricultural producers and other stakeholders about opportunities for aggregation of organic waste from multiple sources into a single biogas system. The ABC is very pleased about these provisions and grateful for the Senator’s focus on biogas in the 2018 farm bill as they will help catalyze private investment, create jobs and accelerate the growth of the biogas industry.