A guest columnis writes : "Stop me if you’ve heard this one.

Congress passes a bill to address an urgent public need. A greedy industry finds a loophole and steps in to siphon off a half-billion dollars without accomplishing anything new. Free money, no public purpose served, taxpayers ripped off.

This is what’s happening right now with the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP). The program was designed to promote biomass crops, including perennial and mixed prairie grasses with deep root systems. These plants can be turned into fuels and electricity. They’re much kinder to the environment than crops like corn, which have until now dominated the biomass industry, and could potentially help address climate change. By substituting renewable biomass for fossil fuels like oil and coal, we can go a long way to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions.

The BCAP, launched in the 2008 Farm Bill, was intended to help farmers begin to grow new crops for renewable energy. Instead, the wood and paper industry has swooped in and secured most of the program’s funding—up to $514 million could be paid out in a few months—to do what they’ve done for decades: burn wood waste to generate energy for company needs. Most of these companies, which include Weyerhaeuser, Georgia-Pacific, and International Paper, aren’t buying or producing any new biomass, nor are they producing any new renewable energy. Instead, they are getting our tax dollars to merely continue their standard operations. While using wood wastes for energy is a good thing, it’s not why this government program was created.

Meanwhile, money to support new biomass crops, such as switchgrass or mixed prairies, hasn't even gotten off the ground." Read more of this commentary in Satuday's Moultrie Observer.

React to this story:

0
0
0
0
0