Klobuchar bill aims to update USDA loan guarantee program

By Erin Voegele | November 01, 2023

Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Jerry Moran, R-Kan., on Oct. 26 announced the introduction of a bill that aims to update the USDA’s Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical and Biobased Products Assistance loan guarantee program. 

The legislation, titled the Agricultural Biorefinery Innovation and Opportunity Act, aims to enhance the ability of the program to support the development of biofuels, renewable chemicals and biobased products. 

The bill includes language specifying that advanced biofuel projects focused on ultra-low-carbon biobased ethanol and zero-carbon biobased ethanol would be eligible for awards made under the updated program. It would also open the program’s definition of biobased product manufacturing to include projects that aren’t technologically new and expand eligible outputs to include renewable chemicals and biobased products in addition to end-use products. 

In addition, the program would be updated to allow cost-share grants to eligible entities for up to 50 percent of the cost of pilot-scale facility construction. The bill allocates $100 million over five years in mandatory funding, as well as a discretionary component. 

“Developing America’s biomanufacturing capabilities is good for our farmers and good for our economy,” Klobuchar said. “This legislation will strengthen the Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical, and Biobased Products Assistance program and will continue to create jobs and solidify America as a leading manufacturer of these products.”

“Investing in biofuels will provide new markets for our farmers while helping the U.S. to become more energy independent,” Moran said. “Developing innovative biofuels will provide new and better sources of energy to drive our economy forward.”

A full copy of the bill, S.2987, is available on the Congress.gov website.