WASHINGTON, Feb. 26, 2003–The American Corn Growers Association (ACGA) has endorsed the Bipartisan Renewable, Efficient Energy with Zero Effluent (BREEZE) Act (S 395). U.S. Senator Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the Finance Committee, along with 12 bipartisan co-sponsors, recently introduced the legislative initiative to extend the production tax credit (PTC) for wind energy for three more years. The current PTC is set to expire on Jan. 1, 2004
ACGA President Keith Dittrich, a corn farmer from Tilden, Neb., commended Senator Grassley and the 12 cosponsors of the bipartisan measure for their action. “As the debate on energy moves forward in the U.S. Senate, we believe one of the goals of energy independence should be to promote the production of renewable domestic energy. We believe an extraordinary opportunity is at hand to increase energy independence, reduce oil imports, improve our environment and stimulate rural economies. ACGA fully indorses the BREEZE Act.”
Senator Grassley explained that experts have established wind energy's valuable contributions to maintaining cleaner air and a cleaner environment. Every 10,000 megawatts of wind energy produced in the United States can reduce carbon monoxide emissions by 33 million metric tons by replacing the combustion of fossil fuels.
ACGA’s Wealth From the Wind program, developed by the American Corn Growers Foundation, educates rural Americans about wind power and looks towards using wind to diversify the agricultural economy and to increase farmers’ incomes. “Wind energy generation holds the potential to do so in several ways,” said Dan McGuire, the program’s director. “Farmers can lease their land to commercial power generators for the placement of wind turbines, or form farmer-owned wind generating cooperatives, or individually build their own wind power projects and take advantage of net metering.”
"Rural America needs these positive tax credit improvements as a long term economic development tool. Wind power can diversify farm income streams and create both temporary and permanent jobs in rural areas. The new farm bill allows for the construction of wind turbines on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres, a provision pushed and promoted by the ACGA. Now we need to move the wind industry forward in tandem with the CRP and other positive renewable energy policy provisions," concluded Dittrich.
Cosponsors of S 395 include Senators Baucus, D-Mont., Breaux, D-La., Chafee, R-R.I., Conrad, D-N.D., Craig, R-Idaho, Crapo, R-Iowa, Durbin, D-Ill., Harkin, D-Iowa, Johnson, D-S.D., Kerry, D-Mass., Leahy, D-Vt., and Snowe, R-Maine.
The American Corn Growers Association represents 14,000 members in 35 states. See www.acga.org .