Brown Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Help Farmers, Wastewater Plants Turn Waste Into Biogas

Bill Would Allow Local Farmers and Wastewater Sites to Access Capital Needed to Use Biogas Technology

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Pat Roberts (R-KS) today introduced bipartisan legislation to invest in biogas technologies, giving farmers and wastewater plants new opportunities to turn waste into useable products like biogas. This bill would create jobs and help keep water sources free of animal and other waste.

“Keeping animal waste out of our water is one of the easiest ways we can guard against polluted runoff that causes harmful algal blooms and pollutes Lake Erie,” said Brown. “This will not only be good for our water, but will help create jobs by providing new opportunities for farmers and wastewater sites to tap into the biogas market.”

“The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation supports tax incentives to help farmers invest in their futures to use biogas and nutrient recovery systems to generate renewable energy, produce high-value products or deliver renewable fuels,” said Yvonne Lesicko, Vice President of Public Policy for the Ohio Farm Bureau. “Nutrient management is an important task and we welcome farmers having opportunities to use the systems or tools which best fit their farms. We applaud Senator Brown and Senator Roberts for helping to promote an innovative approach to nutrient management with this incentive.”

U.S. livestock and dairy producers possess a valuable biogas resource that is not being used to its full potential.  Biogas digester systems – currently used at 2,100 farms and wastewater treatment plants in the U.S. – can turn organic material like manure, food scraps, agricultural residue, and wastewater solids into raw biogas or solids and liquids. Biogas can be used to produce heat, electricity, fuel and can be injected into natural gas pipelines. The solids and liquids can be used to produce fertilizer, compost, soil amendments, and animal bedding. Biogas systems can also be used to process wastewater up stream reducing containments that can impact potable water in many communities.

Too many farms and wastewater sites cannot take advantage of this technology because they lack the upfront cost to install a digester. The Agriculture Environmental Stewardship Act would make these systems eligible for a 30 percent investment tax credit to help farmers and wastewater treatment facilities offset the upfront costs associated with installing a digester system.