Biotech group sends letter to Cochran urging mandatory funding
by MBJ Staff
Published: May 10,2013
AROUND MISSISSIPPI — A group of Mississippi biotechnology companies and state associations have written Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), urging him to support mandatory funding for renewable energy programs in a new Farm Bill.
Elevance Renewable Sciences of Natchez and DuPont Corporation, which has operations in Pass Christian and Pascagoula, sent the letter along with supporters at AgBioworks Foundation and the Memphis Bioworks Foundation.
The letter read, in part: “The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry will soon consider a new version of the Farm Bill. As that process develops, we ask you to help champion the key energy title reforms and updates that senators included in last year’s bill and to ensure the legislation provides for at least $800 million in mandatory energy program funding, which the bipartisan Conrad-Lugar Amendment established. Robust mandatory funding for energy programs is instrumental to their success, and reform language in S. 3240 providing long-overdue eligibility for renewable chemicals in key energy title programs is vital to the future of this promising industry.
“Mississippi is a real beneficiary of Farm Bill energy investments. The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) has, to date, awarded Mississippi farmers and businesses over $2.4 million in grants and loans to improve energy efficiency and lower energy bills. The Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) has provided Mississippi producers over $7.3 million in matching payments to grow value-added bioenergy crops and help industry-leading advanced biofuel developers like KiOR develop the next generation of biofuels in Mississippi. Farm Bill competitive biomass research programs have also funded important work on biomass and biofuels at Mississippi’s universities. And the Biobased Markets program has helped open new markets and drive private investment for Elevance and other innovative renewable chemicals manufacturers.
“These programs are a real driver of Mississippi’s 21st century bio-based economy, creating high-quality rural jobs, enhancing energy security, and improving environmental health. We ask that you maintain the renewable chemical reforms and mandatory funding that were included in last year’s Farm Bill, S. 3240, so that economic opportunities associated with rural energy investments can continue to flourish in Mississippi and throughout the nation.”
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