December 11, 2007, 12:00 am ET - Amendment SA 3736 proposed by Senator Wyden to Amendment SA 3500.
December 12, 2007, 12:00 am ET - Considered by Senate.
December 13, 2007, 12:00 am ET - Considered by Senate.
December 13, 2007, 12:00 am ET - Proposed amendment SA 3736 withdrawn in Senate.

Full Text of this Amendment

SA 3736. Mr. WYDEN (for himself and Mr. Harkin) submitted an amendment intended to be proposed to amendment SA 3500 proposed by Mr. Harkin (for himself, Mr. Chambliss, Mr. Baucus, and Mr. Grassley) to the bill H.R. 2419, to provide for the continuation of agricultural programs through fiscal year 2012, and for other purposes; which was ordered to lie on the table; as follows:

Beginning on page 1097, strike line 1 and all that follows through page 1103, line 15, and insert the following:
``(a) Bioenergy Crop Transition Assistance Program.--
``(1) PURPOSES.--The purposes of the program established under this subsection are--
``(A) to promote the production of a diverse array of eligible bioenergy crops across the United States in a sustainable manner that protects the soil, air, water, and wildlife, to the maximum extent practicable;
``(B) to provide financial and technical assistance to owners and operators of eligible cropland to produce perennial bioenergy crops of suitable quality and in sufficient quantities to support and induce development and expansion of the use of the bioenergy crops for--
``(i) biofuels; or
``(ii) power or heat generation to supplement or replace nonbiobased energy resources; and
``(C) to gather technical information necessary to increase sustainable bioenergy crop production in the future.
``(2) DEFINITIONS.--In this section:
``(i) IN GENERAL.--The term `bioenergy crop' means a perennial tree or plant native to the United States or another perennial plant as determined by the Secretary, that can be grown to provide raw renewable biomass energy or biofuels.
``(ii) EXCLUSIONS.--The term `bioenergy crop' does not include--
``(I) any crop that is eligible for benefits under title I of the Food and Energy Security Act of 2007;
``(II) any plant that--
``(aa) the Secretary determines to be invasive or noxious on a regional basis under the Plant Protection Act (7 U.S.C. 7701 et seq.); or
``(bb) has the potential to become invasive or noxious on a regional basis as determined by the Secretary, in consultation with other appropriate Federal or State departments and agencies; or
``(III) any plant produced on land that, as of the date of enactment of the Food and Energy Security Act of 2007, is--
``(aa) in accordance with clause (iii), grassland that was not previously tilled or broken, as defined by the Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary of the Interior;
``(bb) native forest; or
``(cc) wetland.
``(iii) GRASSLAND.--Grassland described in clause (ii)(III)(aa) does not include land that, for at least 3 of the 5 crop years preceding the date of enactment of the Food and Energy Security Act of 2007, has been devoted to managed pasture.
``(B) BIOENERGY CROP TRANSITION ASSISTANCE PAYMENT.--The term `bioenergy crop transition assistance payment' means an annual payment to a bioenergy crop producer who is participating in an approved bioenergy crop transition assistance program project under this subsection.
``(C) COMPREHENSIVE STEWARDSHIP INCENTIVES PROGRAM.--The term `comprehensive stewardship incentives program' means the program established under chapter 6 of subtitle D of title XII of the Food Security Act of 1985.
``(D) ELIGIBLE APPLICANT.--The term `eligible applicant' means a group of agricultural landowners and operators producing or proposing to produce eligible bioenergy crops together with the owner or operator of an existing or proposed biomass conversion facility that intends to use the bioenergy crops.
``(3) PROGRAM.--
``(A) IN GENERAL.--The Secretary shall establish a competitive process under which the Secretary, acting through the Natural Resources Conservation Service, shall select projects of eligible applicants from geographically-diverse areas of the United States to participate in the bioenergy crop transition assistance program under this subsection.
``(i) IN GENERAL.--An eligible applicant may apply for a project planning grant of up to $50,000 to assist in assembling a bioenergy crop transition assistance program application.
``(ii) MATCHING REQUIREMENT.--To receive a planning grant under clause (i), the eligible applicant shall provide 100 percent matching funding.
``(C) APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS.--An application submitted under the competitive process described in subparagraph (A) shall include--
``(i) the designation of a proposed bioenergy supply region at a distance economically practicable for transportation of the bioenergy crop to the biomass conversion facility;
``(ii) letters of intent from the agricultural landowners and operators applying for the project application, in the proposed supply region to produce a minimum specified number of acres of bioenergy crops;
``(iii) documentation from the eligible applicants that describes--
``(I) the variety of bioenergy crop the owners and operators have committed to producing; and
``(II) the variety of crop that the owners and operators would have grown if the owners and operators had not committee to producing the bioenergy crop; and
``(iv) a letter of intent from the owners or operators of the existing or proposed biomass conversion facility in the bioenergy supply region to use the bioenergy crops described in clause (iii)(I).
``(D) SELECTION CRITERIA.--In selecting projects from applications submitted under this subsection, the Secretary shall--
``(i) consider--
``(I) the likelihood that the project will become viable; and
``(II) the geographic diversity of the projects; and
``(ii) give priority to projects that--
``(I) involve ecologically appropriate proposed bioenergy crops;
``(II) have the highest estimated benefits to wildlife, air, soil, and water quality improvement;
``(III) include plans to grow polycultures of at least 2 species;
``(IV) include the participation of beginning farmers or ranchers or socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers; or
``(V) include local ownership of the biomass conversion facility of the project.
``(A) IN GENERAL.--An agricultural producer described in an application for a project selected by the Secretary under paragraph (3) shall have the opportunity to enroll eligible cropland of the agricultural producer under a contract entered into with the Secretary, acting through the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
``(B) REQUIREMENTS.--Under a contract described in subparagraph (A), an agricultural producer shall be required--
``(i) to produce 1 or more perennial eligible bioenergy crops;
``(ii) to meet the stewardship threshold (as determined under the comprehensive stewardship incentives program) for water, wildlife, and soil quality by the end of the last year of the contract described in subparagraph (A);
``(iii) to cooperate with the Secretary in the process of gathering such information as the Secretary shall require for the purposes of the study under paragraph (6); and
``(iv) to restrict the harvesting of bioenergy crops until after the end of the brooding and nesting season, in accordance with regional regulations promulgated by the Secretary in consultation with--
``(I) State Conservationists of the Natural Resources Conservation Service;
``(II) the United States Fish and Wildlife Service; and
``(III) State wildlife agencies.
``(A) IN GENERAL.--An agricultural producer that has entered into a contract described in paragraph (4) shall be eligible to receive, as determined by the Secretary--
``(i) a Federal cost share for the cost of establishing the bioenergy crop produced by the agricultural producer under the project in an amount that is equal to--
``(I) 50 percent of the total cost;
``(II) in the case of a beginning farmer or rancher or a socially disadvantaged farmer or ranchers, 75 percent of the total cost; or
``(III) in the case of eligible producers that establish a polyculture crop mix of at least 3 perennial species, 90 percent of the total cost; and
``(ii) an annual bioenergy crop transition incentive payment in an amount determined by the Secretary.
``(B) COMPREHENSIVE STEWARDSHIP INCENTIVES PROGRAM PRIORITY.--During the project contract period, an agricultural producer that meets comprehensive stewardship incentives program eligibility requirements shall have a priority for enrollment in the stewardship section of that program, including enhanced payments for--
``(i) the maintenance and active management of a conservation system that incorporates 2 or more native perennial bioenergy crop species; and
``(ii) participation in a research and demonstration project.
``(C) USE OF CROP.--If the bioenergy crop cannot be sold to the biomass conversion facility designated in the project application, the agricultural producer may use the crop for other purposes that are in compliance with the contract requirements described in paragraph (4).
``(6) STUDY AND REPORT.--The Secretary shall carry out a study of the results of the projects funded under this section, including--
``(A) the production potential of a variety of bioenergy crops and crop mixes;
``(B) the effect of the harvesting of bioenergy crops on--
``(i) wildlife and stand establishment;
``(ii) carbon and nitrogen cycles; and
``(iii) erosion, sedimentation, soil compaction, and soil health;
``(C) the impacts on water quality and consumption;
``(D) the soil carbon content and lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions of different bioenergy crops and the uses of the crops; and
``(E) the economic effectiveness of the incentives under this section in encouraging agricultural producers to produce bioenergy crops.
``(b) Forest Biomass Planning Grants.--The Secretary shall provide forest biomass planning assistance grants to private landowners to develop forest stewardship plans that involve sustainable management of biomass from forest land of the private landowners that will preserve diversity, soil, water, or wildlife values of the land, while ensuring a steady supply of biomass material, through--
``(1) State forestry agencies, in consultation with State wildlife agencies; and
``(2) technical service provider arrangements with third parties.
``(c) Assistance for Collection, Harvest, Storage, and Transportation of Renewable Biomass.--
``(1) IN GENERAL.--The Secretary shall establish a program to provide assistance to an agricultural producer, forest land owner, or timber harvester holding the right to collect or harvest renewable biomass, for collecting, harvesting, transporting, and storing renewable biomass that is sustainably harvested and collected to be used in the production of advanced biofuels, heat, or power from a biomass conversion facility.
``(2) PAYMENTS.--
``(A) IN GENERAL.--Except as provided in subparagraph (C), an entity described in paragraph (1) shall receive payments under this subsection for each ton of renewable biomass delivered to a biomass conversion facility, based on a fixed rate to be established by the Secretary in accordance with subparagraph (B).
``(B) FIXED RATE.--The Secretary shall establish a fixed payment rate for purposes of subparagraph (A) to reflect--
``(i) the estimated cost of collecting, harvesting, storing, and transporting the applicable renewable biomass; and
``(ii) such other factors as the Secretary determines to be appropriate.
``(C) FOREST LAND OWNER ELIGIBILITY.--Owners of forest land shall be eligible to receive payments under this subsection only if the owners are acting pursuant to a forest stewardship plan.
``(d) Funding.--
``(1) BIOMASS CROP TRANSITION ASSISTANCE.--Of the funds of the Commodity Credit Corporation, the Secretary shall use to carry out subsections (a) and (b) $130,000,000 for fiscal year 2008, to remain available until expended, of which not more than 10 percent shall be used to carry out subsection (b).
``(2) ASSISTANCE FOR COLLECTION, HARVEST, STORAGE AND TRANSPORT OF RENEWABLE BIOMASS.--Of the funds of the Commodity Credit Corporation, the Secretary shall make available to carry out subsection (c) $10,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2009 through 2011, to remain available until expended.

(As printed in the Congressional Record for the Senate on Nov 15, 2007.)