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Jan-22-2009 18:04printcomments

Senators Introduce Bill to Promote Biogas Production Through Tax Credits‏

Biogas is produced through technologies such as anaerobic digestion (AD) that can convert animal wastes and other agricultural or organic wastes into at least 50% methane.

Cow
Courtesy: ecofriend.org

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - Billions of gallons of fossil fuels could be reduced through renewable energy sources produced from animal waste with a little ingenuity and modest government support.

Today, a bipartisan group of seven Senators led by Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska introduced groundbreaking legislation that promotes the development of biogas – a natural gas substitute created by the conversion of organic wastes such as the anaerobic digestion of animal wastes – through tax incentives.

“We already have the technology to break down animal wastes to create biogas but it needs encouragement from the federal government to become a commercially-viable alternative to natural gas. This new energy source would benefit rural communities and the environment while lessening our dependence on fossil fuels and ensuring energy security,” said Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska.

“We shouldn’t waste the waste; we should promote biogas development.”

“Incentivizing production of clean and affordable energy from agricultural waste is a benefit to everyone,” said Senator Mike Crapo of Idaho.

“Developing our supply of renewable natural gas is one of the many ways our nation’s farmers, ranchers and foresters are proving to be an important part of the solution to our energy needs.”

“This bill puts an existing byproduct to a productive use,” said Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio.

“Ohio’s strength in agriculture along with its growing renewable energy industry positions us be a leader in the production of renewable natural gas. By encouraging its production, we can create jobs, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and improve the environment.”

“This bill promotes innovative technology for the production of renewable energy, and it is good for Nebraska’s livestock producers,” said Senator Johanns of Nebraska. “In addition to being a potentially abundant energy resource, biogas holds the added benefit of turning manure from a waste product into an energy resource. I am proud to be a co-sponsor of this legislation.”

"In basketball terms, this proposal should be a slam dunk,” said Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon.

“It creates a major new incentive to produce natural gas from renewable sources, allowing dairy farmers, feedlot owners, food processing companies and others to turn waste products into revenue. It reduces environmental emissions of a potent greenhouse gas – methane. And it rewards innovation by allowing a broad range of feedstocks and processing technology to qualify.”

“This type of forward thinking is what is needed for our country’s energy security,” said Senator John Thune of South Dakota. “I will continue to work on developing alternative, home grown energy resources that are good for our environment and our economy.”

“By making real investments in the production of alternative energy technologies like biogas we can create good-paying middle-class jobs,” said Senator Stabenow of Michigan.

“This legislation will help ensure farmers and developers throughout Michigan can continue to convert waste into clean energy, all while improving water quality for the Great Lakes.”


Biogas is produced through technologies such as anaerobic digestion (AD) that can convert animal wastes and other agricultural or organic wastes into at least 50% methane (the principal ingredient of natural gas). Biogas can be used as is on the farm or co-located with another facility such as an ethanol plant, or as a renewable substitute for natural gas, propane or other fossil fuels.

This legislation, the Biogas Production Incentives Act of 2009, would encourage greater production of biogas for energy purposes by providing biogas producers with a tax credit of $4.27 for every million British thermal units (mmBtu) of biogas produced. This could mean more jobs and a boon for rural communities.

Biogas production also offers environmental benefits such as a reduction in the greenhouse gas emissions of both carbon dioxide and methane and improved water quality through better manure management. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, if the U.S. used half of its waste biomass, biogas could replace about 5% of the natural gas currently being used, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by another 45-70 million metric tons per year.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture cites a report by the Senate Agriculture Committee estimating that each year 1.37 billion tons of solid animal waste are produced in the U.S. -- the production of biogas could help turn much of this waste into a source of renewable energy.

Source: United States Senate




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Russ February 3, 2009 10:18 am (Pacific time)

This is great news for everyone. Regardless of your political position on global warming, managing manure for the best possible use is just responsible and practical. One of the added benefits of capturing biogas from manure is that it turns a previously unprocessed and difficult to manage material into a steady, consistent supply that can be converted into high value soil amendments and fertilizers. For the sake of our air, water, soil, economy and energy needs, this is a huge first step in the right direction.


Henry Ruark January 27, 2009 6:30 pm (Pacific time)

JW: You wrote:"Why use diversion away from the biodeisel topic?" If you check Comments in thread you will find where content of story was first disregarded, for obvious political-pander purposes. One small lie after another piled higher, deeper, wider, longer, more numerous and even wilder as depth increases is one of oldest propaganda methods very successfully used by totalitarians, inherited by them from fascists, and by them from feudalists, far back in history. When found here we'll continue to expose any such, with all due attention to "see with own eyes", then evaluate with own mind. Some economists, many neocon politicians, and that malign group determined to destroy democracy by how they refine it are all too active and long unchallenged. S-N offers open, honest, democratic channel for that purpose, welcomes dissent, and provides facility for fully recognized national impartial sources for documenting points made here. Let those who attempt p/pander use that pattern--IF they have the facts, it is no problem to present them properly.


JW January 26, 2009 10:35 am (Pacific time)

It's been all over the news about the biodiesel boondoggle. It does show more than just poor leadership, but negligence by the elected officals who mandated the biodiesel. How that applies to the last 30 years of some political cabal seems to be nonsensical to the biodiesel situation that is current. I suggest you take any search engine and you will find countless stories about this. Why use diversion away from the biodeisel topic?


Henry Ruark January 25, 2009 7:59 pm (Pacific time)

JW: You wrote: "...a few people who set policy who don't take the time to do the research." TYou may be right, esp. re those from that 30yr cabal that chose unnecessary attack on Iraq, which is costing us desperately in blood and treasure. THAT you can check via many sources, and it is true story. I note yours does not carry any link to any such checkable site, such as daily newspaper, magazine, or state reports on what should surely demand investigation leading to such documentation. SO ? Do you have any such ? If so, why not cite 'em first shot here rather than leave us without reference ? Do you recall "see with own eyes" and "evaluate with own mind" as repeated here frequently ? Truth is truth, when you have it; when you don't, it is the sharpest point you want to avoid. Do you have it ? Nothing personal, sir; simply citing our usual protocol, to give you full-shot with proof. Can match you with other such "amazing incidents" but most impact on corporate, business rather than on govt. Odd that mine reverse-course for yours, don't you think ? OR does that concern you ? IF you wish only to promote myth re govt.always failing ANYthing, story falls neatly into place. SO prove it for us via sure to happen public press report, with links to "see with own eyes" and evaluat for ourselves.


JW January 25, 2009 5:51 pm (Pacific time)

Minnesota passed a law whereas 10% of their gas had to have biodiesel. The government went one step further and mandated state vehicles have 20% biodiesel. What they found out is that when it freezes outside biodiesel turns to gel. For example, recently, none of the school buses in one community would start because of this gelling. The students waited for the school buses that would not show up. Many of the students suffered mild hypothemia. The governments brainstorm idea in how to correct this during freezing weather: Let the buses idle all night. It has been known for many many years that biodiesel gels up during freezing weather. Just like biofuel from corn (which has driven the price of corn and its byproducts through the roof), we have another example of a few people who set policy who don't take the time to do the research. My guess is that these errors of judgement had nothing to do with what has happened in government over the last 30 years outside of public education, which I assume is where these Minnisota policy makers learned how not to "think."


Henry Ruark January 24, 2009 8:01 am (Pacific time)

To all: With all due respect for comments here, Sherry is right on the money --NO PUN ! Oh Boy comments mirror longtime line of neocon policy that got us into this worldwide economic crisis, with no recognition of globalization and other inescapable trends forcing much of what has happened to our economy. LMA/hcr writing on this area for 30 years and more, ever since D.C. arrival of Reagan and Iraq/Contra debacle with near-escape from impeachment. For anyone ID-to-Editor will send strong documentation from some 50 or so national and international sources. See what you get from O-B except hot air as from paid-shill. Re biogas as issue that is one small part of what must now be done to rescue Earth environment from depletion by corporate attack for decades. Use your own common sense, seek out solid nonpartisan and nationally recognized sources, and never ever listen to masked man at your door refusing to state for whom he doth work.


OhBOY! January 23, 2009 8:01 pm (Pacific time)

Sherry: You're not understanding. "Biogas" spending is entirely wrong right now. We DO NOT NEED GREEN JOBS. We need jobs that produce wealth. Not like the biodiesel boondoggle the City of Portland is caught in, paying 3 times the price of diesel for Canola based diesel and then damaging engines left and right because biodiesel ruined them. No, that's not wise. We need to produce our oil HERE. We need to produce our lumber HERE. We need to produce stuff HERE. We have unionized, regulated, and environmentalized every wealth producing industry into someone else's country. Anywhere but here. And, now, we're spending like drunken fools and bankrupting the country faster than you can blink. Taxing, regulating, or spending on wealth CONSUMERS like biodiesel and biogas are the WRONG things to do.


Sherry January 23, 2009 2:05 am (Pacific time)

There could be no better investment in America than to invest in America becoming energy independent! We need to utilize everything in out power to reduce our dependence on foreign oil including using our own natural resources. Create cheap clean energy, new badly needed green jobs, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. OPEC will continue to cut production until they achieve their desired 80-100. per barrel. The high cost of fuel this past year seriously damaged our economy and society. Oil is finite. We are using oil globally at the rate of 2X faster than new oil is being discovered. We need to take some of these billions in bail out bucks and bail ourselves out of our dependence on foreign oil. Jeff Wilson has a really good new book out called The Manhattan Project of 2009 Energy Independence Now. He explores our uses of oil besides gasoline, our depletion, out reserves and stores as well as viable options to replace oil.Oil is finite, it will run out in the not too distant future. WE need to take some of these billions in bail out bucks and bail America out of it's dependence on foreign oil. The historic high price of gas this past year did serious damage to our economy and society. WE should never allow others to have that much power over our economy again.


Sense January 22, 2009 10:08 pm (Pacific time)

The US Treasury will have 2 trillion dollars less than NOTHING in it this year, and we're talking about spending huge amounts of money on THIS? Truly, Washington DC is completely and utterly out of control.

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