WASHINGTON, D.C. — This week, U.S. Representatives Nikki Budzinski (IL-13) and Zach Nunn (IA-03) introduced bipartisan legislation to increase biofuel production and drive down energy costs for working families. The Agricultural Biorefinery Innovation and Opportunity (Ag BIO) Act would increase funding for grants to support innovation in the biofuels and bioproducts industry, like the research done at the University of Illinois’ Integrated Bioprocessing Research Lab.
“The University of Illinois is a national leader in biomanufacturing and is the proud home to the Integrated Bioprocessing Research Lab – where students and faculty drive world-class innovation every day,” said Congresswoman Budzinski. “I’m proud to join my friend and colleague, Zach Nunn, to introduce bipartisan legislation supporting the critical agricultural research happening at places like my alma mater. By investing in our bioeconomy, we can spur innovation and expand markets for family farmers throughout the Heartland.”
“The biofuels industry drives Iowa’s economy and is critical to our nation’s energy security,”said Congressman Zach Nunn. “The bipartisan Ag BIO Act will eliminate bureaucratic red tape that is driving up energy costs by making it harder for biofuels producers to innovate and expand their manufacturing capacity.”
Currently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical and Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance program offers loans for development, construction and implementation of new technologies in biobased manufacturing; however, the program is underutilized due to bureaucratic red tape preventing businesses from accessing funding.
The bipartisan Ag BIO Act improves the USDA Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical and Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance program by:
- Creating a grant within the program for the construction and expansion of new or existing biorefineries.
- Expanding the types of biofuels that are eligible for funding, including ultra-low carbon bioethanol and zero-carbon bioethanol.
- Eliminating bureaucratic red tape that is impeding access to the funding, including a requirement for duplicative feasibility studies on already proven and commercially available technologies.
To ensure the program has sufficient funding to meet increased demand with these changes, the Ag BIO Act also increases funding for the grant and loan program to $100 million annually over five years.
The Ag BIO Act was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senators Jerry Moran (KS) and Amy Klobuchar (MN). The bill has been endorsed by the Corn Refiners Association, Plant Based Products Council, Ag Bioeconomy Coalition and the Ag Energy Coalition.