What role should biofuels fill in U.S. energy policy? And how would that role impact agricultural demands?
Farm legislation marked up by the Senate Agriculture Committee last month is now awaiting floor action in the upper chamber. That measure provides $800 million for rural energy programs, including loan guarantees and research and development incentives. That quick action by the committee has prompted a national debate over biofuels, including the role corn-based ethanol should have in the transportation sector. Last week Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack urged petroleum companies to increase how much ethanol they blend with gasoline to help reduce America's dependence on foreign oil.
Should Congress provide more or less than $800 million in funding to rural energy programs? What considerations, including those of the environment, economy, and energy security, should policymakers keep in mind when crafting biofuels policy?