DOE EE/RE FY 2009 Budget Cut 27%; Low-Income Weatherization Assistance Program Zeroed Out
In signing the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (HR 6, P.L. 110-140) on December 19, 2007, President Bush said the Act makes "a major step toward reducing our dependence on oil, confronting global climate change, expanding the production of renewable fuels and giving future generations of our country a nation that is stronger, cleaner and more secure."
ETA Solicits Grant Applications for Energy Industry Job Training
On January 23, the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) announced a solicitation for grant applications under the President’s High Growth Job Training Initiative (http://www.doleta.gov/BRG/JobTrainInitiative/).
Senate Farm Bill Passed
On December 14, 2007, after a protracted struggle, the U.S. Senate finally passed the Farm, Nutrition, and Bioenergy Act of 2007 (H.R.2419) by a vote of 79 to 14. During debate, 12 amendments to the bill were considered. None passed.
Wyden-Harkin Amendment Support Letter Signed by 92 Organizations
On November 29, the U.S. Senate received a letter signed by 92 organizations, including EESI and the Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, supporting the Wyden-Harkin amendment - a farm bill amendment to improve the Biomass Crop Transition Assistance Program. Signatories included representatives from environmental organizations, trade groups, and bioenergy companies.
Senate Farm Bill Stalled on the Floor
On November 16, 2007, the U.S. Senate essentially voted to kill the 2007 farm bill. When a vote to invoke cloture (ie, cut off debate) failed 55-42. Deliberations began on the Farm, Nutrition, and Bioenergy Act of 2007 (H.R.2419) 11 days ago, but quickly came to a screeching halt when majority and minority leadership could not come to an agreement on amendments being offered to the bill.
Senate Agriculture Committee Sends 2007 Farm Bill to the Floor
On October 25, 2007, the Senate Agriculture Committee Chaired by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) reported out The Food and Energy Security Act of 2007.
USDA Awards $18.2 Million for Sec. 9006 Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Projects
On September 20, 2007, Under Secretary for Rural Development Thomas Dorr announced that 345 proposals had been selected to receive a total of $18.2 million in loan guarantees and grants from the US Agriculture Department’s (USDA) Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency program (Sec. 9006 of the 2002 Farm Bill (P.L. 107-171). These awards are the last installment of the Sec. 9006 awards for FY07.
U.S. Forest Service Requests Proposals for Woody Biomass Utilization Grants
On September 18, 2007, the U.S. Forest Service announced a request for grant proposals for projects relating to the utilization of woody biomass from National Forest System Lands. The Woody Biomass Utilization Grant Program was established as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to aid in forest restoration activities by using and creating markets for small-diameter material and low-value trees removed as part of restoration operations, including hazardous fuels reduction treatments and treatments to reduce insect and disease outbreaks.
USDA Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Rule Change to Rural Development Guaranteed Loans
On September 14, 2007, the USDA announced a public comment period for a proposed rule change. The rule change would combine four existing guaranteed loan programs; Community Facility, Water and Waste Disposal, Business and Industry, and Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvement Programs; into a unified loan platform for enhanced delivery of these programs.
USDA and U.S. Climate Change Science Program are Seeking Public Comment on New Climate Change Report
On September 11, 2007, the U.S. Climate Change Science Program and USDA posted the second draft of a report on the impacts of climate change: “Synthesis and Assessment Product (SAP) 4.3: The Effects of Climate Change on Agriculture, Land Resources, Water Resources, and Biodiversity.” All comments received during the 45-day public comment period will be considered during preparation of the third draft.