The 2018 Farm Bill text was recently released and included several of Klobuchar’s priorities for Minnesota
In last Farm Bill, Klobuchar was successful in bipartisan efforts to provide additional support to rural development projects, conservation programs, agricultural research, and the Rural Energy for America (REAP) program and pushed for a strong energy title
WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar introduced two amendments to the 2018 Farm Bill to increase investment in renewable energy. The first amendment would restore mandatory funding levels for several programs in the Energy Title. The second amendment would direct the Secretary of Agriculture to conduct a study on the impact of small refinery waivers, a tactic that Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt is currently using to undermine the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). In the last Farm Bill, Klobuchar was successful in bipartisan efforts to provide additional support to rural development projects, conservation programs, agricultural research, and the Rural Energy for America (REAP) program and pushed for a strong energy title.
“This is a strong, bipartisan Farm Bill, but there is more that can be done to protect the environment, increase our commitment to renewable energy, and boost innovation,” Klobuchar said. “By funding programs that allow farmers to invest in renewable energy and protecting the RFS, we can create jobs and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels – and I will continue working to get these amendments included in the final version of the Farm Bill.”
Klobuchar’s Energy Title amendment would restore mandatory funding to several programs in the Energy Title, including the Biobased Markets Program, the Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical, and Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance Program, the Bioenergy for Advanced Biofuels Program, the Biomass Research and Development Program, and the Biomass Crop Assistance Program. The current text of the bill eliminates mandatory funding for all programs in the Energy Title except for the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). The costs of these investments would be offset by eliminating the Economic Adjustment Assistance for Upland Cotton Users, which was already recommend in the President’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget. The amendment is co-sponsored by Senators Tina Smith (D-MN), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), and Chuck Grassley (R-IA).
Klobuchar’s RFS amendment would direct the Secretary of Agriculture to conduct a study on the impact of small refinery waivers. Recent reports have indicated that Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt has issued an unprecedented number of so-called “hardship” waivers exempting obligated parties from the RFS undermining the original intent of the law. The amendment would require the Secretary to conduct a study on the impact to farm income, commodity prices, and renewable fuel usage for the small refinery waivers that EPA has granted. The report would be provided to the Secretary of Energy, the Administrator of the EPA, and both the House and Senate Agriculture Committees. The amendment would also ensure that the study is used by the EPA when making decisions on granting future small refinery waivers. The amendment is co-sponsored by Smith, Heitkamp, Grassley, Fischer, and Ernst.
As a senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and a 2014 Farm Bill Conference Committee member, Klobuchar successfully pushed for key provisions in the last Farm Bill – including measures to support rural development projects, conservation programs, agricultural research, and the Rural Energy for America (REAP) program. The 2018 Farm Bill includes several of Klobuchar’s priorities, including provisions that would provide certainty to farmers and ranchers, create an animal disease and disaster program, and support dairy farmers. The bill also protects and expands crop insurance to improve access for beginning farmers, and preserves a strong safety net for farmers and maintains important access to food assistance for families in need while saving millions of taxpayer dollars by cracking down on fraud and abuse.
For years, Klobuchar has led a bipartisan push for the EPA to release a stronger RFS to support American jobs and decrease dependence on foreign oil. In March, Klobuchar led another bipartisan group senators in urging the Administration to oppose any changes that would undermine the objectives of the RFS and hinder the growth of rural economies. A month later, Klobuchar and Grassley led a bipartisan group of 13 senators in urging EPA Administrator Pruitt to cease issuing so-called “hardship” waivers exempting obligated parties from the RFS, and a month earlier. In October, Klobuchar and Grassley led a bipartisan group of senators in a letter to the EPA calling for a strong RFS as the Agency worked toward finalizing its rule on biofuels volume requirements for 2018 under the RFS. In the letter, the senators urged the continued implementation of the RFS as intended by Congress and the release of a strong final rule that would give consumers more choices at the pump, strengthen the economy, and make the country more secure.