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Greg Gibson, Coordinator
Public Relations / Multimedia
1-800-227-8244 ext. 4154
or 601-977-4154
email: ggibson@msfb.org

Guest Editorial
by David Waide, President
Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation

 

The Call for a National Energy Goal

This summer the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives each took steps to lessen our nation’s dependence on foreign oil. They voted to strengthen the economy and improve the environment through passage of energy legislation that will increase efficiency, expand biofuels production, and provide funds for research and development. In addition, the House provided tax incentives to spur greater production of renewable energy. These measures represent primary building blocks for a new energy future; but until a final energy bill is agreed upon, and signed into law by the President, America’s energy future is still questionable.

A critical first step on the path to a new energy future is to clearly define what that future should be. Over the past two years, a diverse group of agricultural, environmental, and business leaders, including top auto executives have been working to do just that, and have articulated a signal goal of securing 25 percent of the nation’s energy needs for renewable forms of energy by the year 2025. Twenty-six governors, eleven state legislatures, including the Mississippi Legislature, and over 100 members of Congress have endorsed the group’s 25 x ’25 renewable energy goal. This is a goal Americans can support, and more importantly, it is achievable.

A 25 x’ 25 new energy future dramatically reduces our dependence on foreign sources of oil cutting imports by 2.5 million barrels a day. Meeting the 25 x ‘25 goal will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 1 billion tons annually – two thirds of the projected emissions growth by 2025. A 25 x ‘25 energy future will strengthen the national economy, create new jobs and provide new revenue streams for a large sector of the country – rural America – one that is struggling to remain viable.

A recent University of Tennessee study has shown a 25 x ‘25 energy future will yield major economic benefits for Mississippi. The study revealed that a 25 percent renewable energy platform would increase net farm income in the state by $1.04 billion, provide a whopping $11.4 billion annual boost to the gross national product and generate 92,000 new good paying jobs.

The U.S. Senate recognized the importance of a renewable energy future by unanimously adopting the 25 x ‘25 goal. Support in the House for the 25 x ‘25 energy future continues to grow. The House Agriculture Committee has adopted the resolution backing 25 x ‘25, and the measure currently has the bipartisan support of more than 70 co-sponsors.

Early next month Congress will finalize energy legislation by reconciling differences between the Senate and House bills. The 25 x ‘25 goal should be a part of the final bill that emerges and is sent to the President for signature. Without a unifying goal, the end result could well be a mixture of energy proposals that don’t take us where we need to go as quickly as we need to get there.

Mississippi’s congressional delegation can help lead our nation to a clean, safe and affordable energy future by insuring that a 25 percent renewable energy goal is included in the final energy bill that is passed by Congress this fall. Mississippi has much to gain from a new energy future and it’s time for all our elected officials in Washington to show the way forward by defining it as 25 x ‘25.

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The Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation is the state's largest general farm organization with more than 230,000 member-families statewide.  There are Farm Bureaus in all 82 counties in Mississippi where agriculture comprises a fundamental part of Mississippi 's economy.  Headquartered in Jackson , the federation is an independent, non-profit agricultural organization and is not associated with any arm of the government.  For more information about Farm Bureau, visit our website at www.msfb.com.

 

© 2007 Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation