April 27, 2007
April 27, 2007 - On Thursday, U.S. Reps. Devin Nunes (Calif.) and Ron Kind (Wisc.) introduced legislation that has the potential of replacing billions of gallons of fossil fuels with domestic energy developed from animal waste. The bill would provide tax incentives and guaranteed loans for small businesses to promote biogas - a substitute for natural gas created by the anaerobic digestion of animal waste and other organic bi-products.
"American dependence on foreign oil has endangered our national security and is an unacceptable long-term risk. The development of significant national biogas production requires an investment by the American people, and this legislation makes this investment," said Nunes.
Biogas is produced through the anaerobic digestion of animal wastes and other agricultural or organic wastes and is composed of at least 60 percent methane (the principal ingredient of natural gas). Methane can be burned to generate electricity. Biogas can be used as is on the farm, co-located with another facility such as an ethanol plant or can be cleaned up to be used as a renewable substitute for natural gas, propane or other fossil fuels.
It has been estimated that national biogas production has the potential to replace approximately 2.5 billion gallons of heating oil per year. Biogas production also offers environmental benefits such as a reduction in the greenhouse gas emissions of both carbon dioxide and methane and improved water quality through better manure management.
Companion legislation was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Ben Nelson (Neb.).