Biofuels represent the intersection between rural jobs and energy security in the United States. By supporting biofuels production in rural areas, the Obama Administration aims to wean the U.S. economy off foreign oil, while also creating “green jobs” in rural areas. In order to ensure the production and expansion of advanced biofuels, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack (pictured below) said the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will pay more than 160 energy producers in 41 states to produce biofuels from renewable biomass sources other than corn kernal starch.
The payments are authorized under the 2008 Farm Bill’s Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels, and are based on the amount of biofuels a recipient produces from biomass such as cellulose, crop residue, animal, food and yard waste material, biogas (landfill and sewage waste treatment gas), vegetable oil and animal fat.
Recipients include biodiesel and ethanol producers, operators of anaerobic digesters, producers of biomass pellets and a landfill gas facility operator. Specific recipients are businesses such as Ever Cat Fuels, a Minnesota biodiesel producer that uses an innovative process to convert feedstock plant oils and animal fat to biodiesel. Corinth Wood Pellets, a Maine-based company that is also receiving payments from the USDA, produces and sells premium-grade wood pellets from sawdust and woodchip feedstock. The feedstock is used as an alternative fuel to heat residential, industrial and commercial buildings. An entire list of the recipients can be found online [PDF].
“Renewable energy production will create tens of thousands of direct, American jobs; thousands more indirect jobs, and clean electricity to power millions of homes,” Vilsack said. “The payments I am announcing today represent the continuing commitment of the Obama administration to work with producers to provide the biofuel necessary to reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign energy sources.”