The European Commission (EC) plans through the use of its own funds and investments by industry to generate €3.8 billion from 2014 to 2020 on the further development and advance of biobased industries in Europe. That’s the principal take away from this news item, courtesy of Specialty Chemicals Magazine. If you take a minute to read the piece, it becomes evident that European leadership totally gets the relationship between forward-thinking policy initiates and the speed at which innovations happen. Two, they have the public/private concept right. All you have to read are the first two paragraphs of the story. The EC knows what it aims to achieve, and they have accurately identified the expected benefits in terms of …generating growth and jobs in rural areas, reducing waste, in part by sourcing locally, offering sustainable alternatives to oil-based products and enhancing energy and food security.
In contrast, the U.S.Senate’s current version of the evolving Farm Bill includes total Biorefinery Assistance funding of $262.339 million ($245 million in mandatory funding + $17.339 million in discretionary funding). Source. Don’t get me wrong. This would be a wonderful step in the direction of furthering U.S. biorefinery leadership. But it still lacks the scale, the public/private component, and the long-term perspectives embodied in the EC’s six-year plan.
Congress is in recess. Members are presumably back home seeking constituent sentiments on any number of House and Senate initiatives or lack thereof. So, if you happen to attend a town meeting event hosted by your representative and if you care about the future of bio-based chemicals that can reduce America’s dependency on imported oil, put in a good word for biorefinery assistance funding in the next Farm Bill. I thank you, and your grandchildren will be grateful, too!