USDA Announces Major Re-Organization of Rural, Trade, and Conservation Programs

On Thursday May 4, USDA Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced that the USDA would undergo a major reorganization.  The agency will create an Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Affairs to “ensure that American producers are well equipped to sell their products and feed the world,” according to Perdue. The creation of the position was first proposed in the 2014 Farm Bill and has been championed by the Farm Bureau and commodity groups.  

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Despite Biomass Provisions in Omnibus, Biomass Woes Far From Over

Longtime biomass watchers will remember the Collins Amendment – which caused quite the stir last year, as it directed federal agencies to recognize biomass use as carbon neutral.  Passed May 5, the omnibus funding bill contains the Collins Amendment, a biomass provision that was originally contained in the 2016 Energy Policy Modernization Act and co-sponsored by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Angus King (I-ME) and supported by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Angus King (I-ME), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Al Franken (D-MN), Steve Daines (R-MT), Mike Crapo (R-ID), and James Risch (R-ID).

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Upcoming Events: 

1) Energy Emergency Preparedness: A Critical Federal-State-Private Sector Partnership

Monday, May 15
12:30 pm - 2:00 pm

Room 334 Cannon House Office Building
Independence Avenue SE and 1st Street, SE

Lunch will be served

The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) and the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) invite you to a briefing about the key role played by the 56 governor-designated State and Territory Energy Officials, other state agencies, the private sector, and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in mitigating the impacts of and responding to energy supply disruptions (of electricity, natural gas, and petroleum products). Such emergencies, often caused by extreme weather, can pose a threat to public health and safety and can cause lasting economic harm. According to the Congressional Research Service, weather-related outages cost the nation between $25 and $70 billion annually.


2) Powering Businesses, Homes and Vehicles with Waste

How to Grow the Economy & Jobs with Biogas & Renewable Natural Gas

Tuesday, May 23
11:30 am - 1:00 pm

201-00 Capitol Visitor Center (Senate-Side)
East Capitol Street and 1st Street, NE

Lunch will be served

The American Biogas Council (ABC), the Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas (CRNG) and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) invite you to a briefing about the untapped energy in domestic wastes. Waste streams—including manure, agricultural waste, waste water, food scraps and landfill gases—can be converted to biogas and upgraded to renewable natural gas (RNG) for electricity, pipeline injection, or vehicle use, while also providing valuable products such as fertilizer and compost. Using these products provides local jobs, improves air and water quality, assists in meeting multi-agency nutrient management strategies and helps to meet multiple policy goals espoused in both the Farm Bill and the Renewable Fuel Standard.


3) WIRES University Graduate School – Electric Transmission Infrastructure

Economic, Policy & Technology Benefits of Investment

Thursday, May 25
8:15 am - 3:00 pm

Reserve Officers Association – 5th Floor
One Constitution Ave NE

This year's second WIRES University explores an oft-neglected but fundamental aspect of North American INFRASTRUCTURE—the high voltage electric transmission grid. This whole-day session explains the grid’s importance as an enabler of markets and new technology as the economy becomes more thoroughly electrified. Our grid must also adapt to a distributed energy future which calls for a smarter and more flexible network.


To Contact the Editor: Jessie Stolark at

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