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RENEWABLE ENERGY AND

THE RURAL ECONOMY

то

HEARING

BEFORE THE

SUBCOMMITTEE ON DEPARTMENT OPERATIONS, OVERSIGHT, NUTRITION, AND FORESTRY

OF THE

COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

ONE HUNDRED EIGHTH CONGRESS

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For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office
Internet: bookstore.gpo.gov Phone: toll free (866) 512-1800; DC area (202) 512-1800
Fax: (202) 512-2250 Mail: Stop SSOP, Washington, DC 20402-0001

JOHN A. BOEHNER, Ohio

Vice Chairman

COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE

BOB GOODLATTE, Virginia, Chairman

RICHARD W. POMBO, California

NICK SMITH, Michigan
TERRY EVERETT, Alabama
FRANK D. LUCAS, Oklahoma
JERRY MORAN, Kansas

WILLIAM L. JENKINS, Tennessee
GIL GUTKNECHT, Minnesota
DOUG OSE, California

ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
CHARLES W. "CHIP" PICKERING,
Mississippi

TIMOTHY V. JOHNSON, Illinois
TOM OSBORNE, Nebraska
MIKE PENCE, Indiana

DENNIS R. REHBERG, Montana

SAM GRAVES, Missouri

ADAM H. PUTNAM, Florida
MAX BURNS, Georgia

JO BONNER, Alabama
MIKE ROGERS, Alabama

STEVE KING, Iowa

CHRIS CHOCOLA, Indiana

MARILYN N. MUSGRAVE, Colorado
DEVIN NUNES, California
RANDY NEUGEBAUER, Texas

CHARLES W. STENHOLM, Texas,
Ranking Minority Member
COLLIN C. PETERSON, Minnesota
CALVIN M. DOOLEY, California
TIM HOLDEN, Pennsylvania
BENNIE G. THOMPSON, Mississippi
MIKE MCINTYRE, North Carolina
BOB ETHERIDGE, North Carolina
BARON P. HILL, Indiana
JOE BACA, California
RICK LARSEN, Washington
MIKE ROSS, Arkansas

ANÍBAL ACEVEDO-VILÁ, Puerto Rico
ED CASE, Hawaii

RODNEY ALEXANDER, Louisiana

FRANK W. BALLANCE, JR., NORTH
CAROLINA

DENNIS A. CARDOZA, California
DAVID SCOTT, Georgia

JIM MARSHALL, Georgia

EARL POMEROY, North Dakota
LEONARD L. BOSWELL, Iowa
KEN LUCAS, Kentucky
MIKE THOMPSON, California
MARK UDALL, Colorado
RICK LARSEN, Washington
LINCOLN DAVIS, Tennessee

PROFESSIONAL STAFF

WILLIAM E. O'CONNER, JR., Staff Director
KEVIN KRAMP, Chief Counsel

STEPHEN HATERIUS, Minority Staff Director
ELYSE BAUER, Communications Director

SUBCOMMITTEE ON DEPARTMENT OPERATIONS, OVERSIGHT, NUTRITION, AND

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RENEWABLE ENERGY AND THE RURAL

ECONOMY

MONDAY, MARCH 15, 2004

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,

SUBCOMMITTEE ON DEPARTMENT OPERATIONS,
OVERSIGHT, NUTRITION, AND FORESTRY,

COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE,

Rochester, MN.

The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 1:00 p.m., in the Rochester Government Center, Rochester, MN, Hon. Gil Gutknecht (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.

Present: Representatives Smith and Dooley.

Staff present: Sam Diehl, subcommittee staff director; Joshua A. Maxwell, Janet Nuzum, and John P. Riley.

OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. GIL GUTKNECHT, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF MINNESOTA

Mr. GUTKNECHT. Good afternoon. The hearing of the Department of Operations, Oversight, Nutrition and Forestry Subcommittee will come to order. It's a long title, but the reason we're here today is to talk about renewable fuels. This subcommittee also has the oversight responsibility of renewable fuels as it relates to the Department of Agriculture.

The purpose of today's hearing is to discuss the opportunities, the challenges, and the benefits of renewable energy, particularly those benefits it provides to rural America. Last year, more than 62 percent of America's oil supply was imported from places like Venezuela and the Middle East. This summer, there are some experts who are predicting that gasoline will surpass $2 a gallon. Our Nation's electric power grid is stretched to capacity. It remains virtually impossible to construct new generating facilities and transmission lines. Last summer we saw our Nation's largest blackout,

ever.

When President Bush was elected, many of us were worried whether a Texan would understand the benefits of renewable energy. Much to our pleasure, our concerns were unfounded. This administration has sought to promote renewable energy on many different fronts, from signing into law the first ever energy title for a farm bill, to promoting comprehensive energy policy through the energy bill that embraces a renewable future. While some of the provisions in the energy bill have proved contentious, and we have been unable to get a bill passed in the Senate, I'm hopeful that more Americans will begin to understand the need for long-term

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