Speaking at the Rural Economic Forum held Tuesday afternoon at Community College in Peosta, Iowa, President Obama called for speeding up the development of the next generation of biofuels. But, some no longer see biofuels as innovative. The President also stressed the importance of expanding renewable energy sources like wind, solar and geothermal. He told a panel it could generate hundreds of thousands of jobs all across the country.
Obama said the growth of those industries, biofuels, wind, solar and geothermal, could help farmers diversify their incomes. The volatility of the world markets amplifies the need for the ongoing development of renewable energy.
While traveling in Iowa, President Obama announced a major initiative to provide advanced biofuels to fuel military and commercial transportation, while displacing the need for foreign oil and strengthening rural America. The joint plan calls for USDA, the Department of Energy and the U.S. Navy to invest a total of up to $510 million, which will require substantial cost share from private industry of at least a one to one match. The initiative will help position American companies and farmers to be global leaders in advanced biofuels production.
The United States spends more than $300 billion on imported crude oil per year. Producing a domestic source of energy provides a more secure alternative to imported oil and improves our energy and national security. The President believes that in the long term, these unparalleled rural investments will help ensure that America's rural communities are repopulating, self-sustaining, and thriving economically.
In making the announcement, President Obama said that supporting biofuels cannot be the role of government alone. That’s why they’re partnering with the private sector to speed development of next-generation biofuels that will help us continue to take steps towards energy independence and strengthen communities across our country. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says that by building a national biofuels industry, we are creating construction jobs, refinery jobs and economic opportunity in rural communities throughout the country.