Obama administration moves to boost biofuels with $787 million package

As the U.S. struggles to bootstrap itself out of one of the worst economies in decades, the federal government continues its spending spree, earmarking $787 million to biofuels. The goal is ostensibly to meet a target set by former President George Bush of 36 billion gallons of biofuel in the national gasoline supply by 2022.

The money will go to industry companies to provide ‘relief’ from the current market contraction. That may not be enough, however, with industry chiefs also seeking government-backed loans.

President Obama pitched the deal with his typically positive message. «We must invest in a clean energy economy that will lead to new jobs, new businesses and reduce our dependence on foreign oil,» said the President. «The steps I am announcing today help bring us closer to that goal.»

«If we are to be a leader in the 21st century global economy, then we must lead the world in clean energy technology. Through American ingenuity and determination, we can and will succeed.»

Of the $787 million to be spent, $480 million will go to smaller-production bio-refineries including pilot and demonstration-scale units. Full-scale commercial bio-refineries will get $176.5 million, and another $130 million will go to fund research in to biofuels and their production, according to the Detroit News.

The goal of increasing the amount of biofuels blended with the national petro-fuel supply is aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. When compared directly to each other, biofuels do release fewer harmful pollutants as a result of combustion.

However, critics of biofuels such as ethanol would stress the production process and the resources necessary to grow, harvest, process and refine the crops are in the end a great net cause of greenhouse gases.

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