Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Comments on Farm Bill REAP due Friday, October 24

The Farm Bill Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) is currently open for comments. This program has been discussed at recent meetings of the National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture (NCSA) Committee on Renewable Energy.Scientists working in areas related to bioenergy may wish to add to the draft comments (access them by clicking here) by the Environmental Law and Policy Center (ELPC), or submit their own.

If you would like to submit comments on the ELPC draft, please send them to Laura Murphy at and I will compile comments from ASA-CSSA-SSSA scientists and submit them jointly to the ELPC.

If you would like to submit independent comments, I will connect you with John Moore at ELPC, who will gladly help you coordinate their filing with USDA.

The following background is from ELPC: USDA's public comment period for REAP and the other new programs in the Farm Bill Energy Title ended on September 19. However, we know that USDA is still 6-12 weeks away from issuing this year's notice of funds availability (NOFA) for REAP. Since for the first time it includes Energy Audits/Technical Assistance, we think it's especially important to give USDA guidance on how to best implement the program. Our draft comments therefore focus on the energy audit program, together with comments on improving the existing REAP grant and loan guarantee program. The primary reason why we are submitting these comments (which are similar in the main to ELPC's first comments) is that comparatively few entities submitted comments on REAP on September 19. So we think it's especially important for more ag, rural development, energy and other organizations to weigh in now so that USDA gets the rules right - which is much better than trying to undo poorly-designed rules.

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