Drain the Swamp of the Biofuels Waste of Tax Dollars

Published May 7, 2017
Since 2013, I have been on the mailing list for press releases from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Interior (DOI), and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  Monthly press releases during the Obama Administration were four for USDA, 3 for DOE, 5 for DOI, and 15 for EPA.  Since President Trump’s Inauguration January 20, 2017 there has been a sizable decrease in press releases.  Press releases as of May 3, 2017 during the Trump Administration are 4 for DOE, 1 for DOI, 0 for EPA, and 3 for USDA.
Activities of all organizations under the Obama Administration Executive Branch, which includes DOE, DOI, EPA, and USDA, were under guidelines of President Obama’s October 5, 2009 Executive Order “Federal Leadership in Environment, Energy, and Economic Performance“.  The November 9, 2015 article “President Obama Demands Agreement with Climate Policies” by Prof. James H. Rust describes the Executive Order and gives examples of compliance with it by federal agencies, corporations, and education systems.
Almost without exception during the Obama Administration, USDA press releases contained glowing remarks about funds given rural areas to promote solar, wind, and biofuels energy resources to eliminate threats of global warming caused by carbon dioxide from using coal, oil, and natural gas.  Annual expenditures were in the billions of dollars.  Most of the money was a total waste and I couldn’t comprehend a responsible Congress approving such waste of tax dollars.
The USDA press release February 28, 2017 announced loans totaling $202 million given rural electric cooperatives in nine states.  The loans assisted making better electricity services to customers.  This activity is not a waste of tax dollars.  Two USDA press releases April 25 announced Sonny Perdue being appointed the31st Secretary of USDA and Perdue’s meeting at the White House for a “Farmer’s Roundtable“.
Thinking the USDA had changed directions on promoting projects wasting tax dollars, a surprising USDA announcement came to my attention April 18, 2017 via the Biofuels Digest:
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Media contact: Sally Gifford, 202-720-2047
WASHINGTON, D.C. April 18, 2017  – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced $9.6 million in available funding for projects to support the development of new biobased products and biomaterials from renewable sources such as crops, trees, and waste materials from farmland and forests.  Funding is made through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

“Rural America has the potential to be the economic powerhouse through biofuels and biobased products,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy.  “NIFA investments in research and development help to create new economic opportunities in rural communities, protect the environment, and reduce U.S. dependence on foreign energy.”
AFRI is America’s flagship competitive grants programs for addressing critical societal issues through the food and agricultural sciences. The 
AFRI Sustainable Bioenergy and Bioproducts Challenge Area supports projects that lead to the commercial production at scale of biobased products such as biochemicals, biomaterials, and products that replace fossil carbon-based products. This challenge area supports three types of projects: research, education or extension projects; integrated projects; and food and agricultural science enhancement grants.
Applications may only be submitted by eligible entities.  Eligibility is linked to the project type.  The deadline for applications is June 28, 2017.

Remarks by NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy, shown in red, appear to indicate the USDA has not changed its policies on biofuels from wasteful policies during the Obama Administration.  Funding through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, looks like funding runaway train wrecks.
A great summary of investments by governments and venture capitalists in algae biofuels is the April 19, 2017 article “Hard Lessons From the Great Algae Biofuel Bubble”  by Eric Wesoff.  Commentary included, “The VC process of pumping millions into a market to develop or disrupt the existing structure and accelerate rapid change has not worked with algae biofuels, or any biofuels for that matter (see Vinod Khosla’s big biofuel adventure.)”
 A summary of ethanol from corn folly is the October 14, 2012 article “The Case Against Ethanol from Corn” by Prof. James H. Rust.  This article shows ethanol from corn has additional problems of causing higher food and fuel prices.  The April 13, 2017 article “How The Ethanol Mandate Is Killing The American Prairie” by William F. Shughart II discusses destroying the American Prairie by replacing grass lands with crops.  A greater danger of using corn to produce ethanol is the April 21, 2017 article “Concerned About Water Shortages?  Then You Need to Oppose Ethanol” by Prof. James H. Rust that points out irrigation of corn crops from the Ogallala Aquifer may lead to future dust bowls in the American Prairie.
Further efforts to continue development of biodiesel is shown in the April 30, 2017 article “Senate bill introduced to extend, reform US biodiesel tax credit” which describes legislation called the American Renewable Fuel and Job Creation Act of 2017.  This bill asks to renew the $1-per-gallon biodiesel tax credit for three years and to reform it from a blender’s incentive to a domestic producer’s tax credit.  The bill also provides an additional 10-cent-per-gallon credit for small U.S. biodiesel producers.  Roughly half of U. S. biodiesel comes from soy bean oil.
It is foolish to invest in biofuels that cost more than oil and natural gas they replace.  The United States has hundreds of years supply of these resources that are geographically distributed, new development produces thousands of high-paying jobs, require no tax-dollar investments, and produce government income in the form of taxes and royalties
Congress needs to make quick examinations of these grants and demand elimination of projects that waste tax dollars.  As shown by years of research; policies on developing renewable energy resources, in particular during the Obama Administration, have led to waste of billions of tax dollars.  This is one of the primary reasons the U. S. national deb increased from $10.5 trillion in 2008 to $20 trillion today.