Ag Secretary touts biofuels plan during Iowa appearance

Source: By Bob Fisher, KRIB, Mason City • Posted: Monday, July 9, 2012

The U.S. government has announced its latest effort to drive the development of biofuels through a $62-million investment. The White House says a key part is $30-million in federal funding being made available to quicken the development of biofuels to replace diesel and jet fuel consumed by the military and the commercial aviation and shipping industry.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack touting the plan while in Iowa this week, but says there are some in Congress that don’t want to see this happen. He says the Navy, the U.S.D.A. and the Department of Energy are working to build a drop-in aviation fuel that is bio-based. He says it would be great for farmers and the Midwest, but there’s opposition to the plan from some House and Senate Republicans.

Vilsack says the Navy is behind the plan. “The Navy clearly doesn’t want to be dependent on foreign sources of energy to fuel their planes and ships that they have, so we’re going to move forward on this,” Vilsack says. He’s now hoping with the announcement of the $62-million investment that they can identify a couple of companies that are willing to help create the new industry.

Vilsack says there are some commercial airlines that are also interested in the plan. He says he’s talked to some of the main airlines and plane manufacturers and they are excited about the concept. Vilsack made comments about the biofuels effort in Clear Lake during the community’s 4th of July parade.