The Obama Administration has made domestic production of renewable energy a national priority because it will create quality American jobs, combat global warming, reduce fossil fuel dependence and lay a strong foundation for a strong rural economy. While the President’s Biofuels Interagency Working Group, which I co-chair, continues its work to shepherd our Nation's development of this important industry and to coordinate interagency policy, the USDA released a report yesterday outlining both the current state of renewable energy efforts in America and a plan to develop regional strategies to increase the production, marketing and distribution of biofuels.
The Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS2) mandates that there will be 36 billion gallons of biofuel per year in America’s fuel supply by 2022. I am confident that we can meet this threshold, but to do so we must make further investments in areas including research and development of feedstocks; sustainable production and management systems; efficient conversion technologies and high-value bioproducts and analysis tools.
While corn-based ethanol production will remain important to America’s producers, we are also gearing up research efforts to assist growers of advanced biofuels to produce energy from new feedstocks on a regional basis and in an environmentally sustainable manner.
Renewable energy development not only promotes energy independence; the regional strategy I’ve outlined sets the stage for job creation in rural communities that are often located in distressed areas and persistent poverty counties.
To view the report in its entirety, visit www.usda.gov.
Tom Vilsack is the Secretary of Agriculture