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ACGA concerned that shortchanging renewable energy programs is shortsighted

(Friday, Feb. 7, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- From a news release.

Contact: Larry Mitchell (202) 835-0330

WASHINGTON, Feb. 7, 2003---Larry Mitchell, CEO of the American Corn Growers Association (ACGA) described the recent Bush administration's slashing of funds for renewable energy projects as outrageous. "How in the world can the President give such a backhanded slap in the face to the same conservative, rural constituents that gave the White House and Congressional leadership so much support in the most recent two elections?" asked Mitchell.

"At a time when we hear the constant drumbeat about how America has to focus on our national security and address the need for energy independence, there has to be some kind of convoluted logic afoot when the Administration proposes slashing funding for the very loan guarantees and grants included in the Energy Title of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 that would help get such projects started."

"America needs long-term commitments and strong leadership from our government in order to meet our nation's energy independence, not hollow promises, rhetoric and lip service," declared Mitchell. "We urge Congress to reinstate these essential funds in order to support these critical initiatives. Our nation's energy policy should not depend on saber rattling around the globe."

According to a February 4, 2003 article from the Chicago Tribune, 22 Quincy, Illinois-area wheat and soybean farmers, together with ranchers and rural businessmen in Adams County, were in the process of starting a wind farm. These Ill. developers could have applied for up to 50 percent funding of the project through the Energy Title of the new farm bill, but the Bush administration has now slashed the Title's funds. Another group of 26 farmers in Adams and Pike counties wants to develop a wind farm cooperative in the western Illinois area. Both projects are in jeopardy because of the farm law funding cuts.

"Can anyone imagine a worse time for the Administration to cut a program that has such great potential for the future of rural America," questioned Keith Dittrich, President of the ACGA. "It's time for rural America to mobilize all the way from Peoria to the Potomac by insisting that public officials at all levels stand up for the future of our local communities and that includes demanding full funding for renewable energy projects, including wind energy generation, in the new farm law. The old saying that the squeaky wheel gets the grease may well be appropriate here, and it's high time to renew our own citizen energy all from the heartland. Renewable energy promoters should use wind turbines to put Washington into a tailspin on this budget proposal if necessary."

For more information please visit the ACGA website at http://www.ACGA.org.