Stop the presses! Rural America will supply renewable energy to the nation by 2025.
Once in a great while, farmers, politicians and enviros stand on common ground and rally behind a shared cause. Didn’t think it was possible? Stretch your imagination even further and envision a congressional resolution that brings together political parties. This resolution, recently introduced by a bipartisan group of senators and representatives, calls for an ambitious goal: that rural America will supply renewable energy to 25 percent of the nation from renewable sources by 2025.
Appropriately dubbed 25x’25, the vision is designed as an agricultural initiative, calling on farmers to supply the nation’s renewable energy sources — biofuels like ethanol, bioenergy from processed animal and agricultural waste, and wind and solar power produced on agricultural lands. Skeptics say the 25x’25 goal is unrealistic because only 4 percent of America’s energy currently comes from these sources.
Sponsors of the resolution disagree. “25x’25 is a bold and ambitious goal, but one that I believe is within reach,” says Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Virginia, the lead House sponsor of the resolution and chairman of the House Agriculture Committee.
Farm, environmental and forestry organizations are also rushing to support the initiative. Already more than 140 organizations have signed on to endorse the bold vision. The Energy Future Coalition, a nonpartisan group that is funding the 25x’25 campaign with support from private foundations, boasts an impressive roster of backers, including former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-South Dakota, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Georgia.
The 25x’25 Coalition is busy garnering support from state legislatures as well. At least 10 states are either in the process of forming state alliances in support of the initiative or have been spurred to enact their own legislation regarding renewable energy.
Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota stressed the importance of agriculture in the 25x’25 initiative. “As fossil fuel prices continue to rise, American agriculture has answered the call to reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign energy. Using renewable sources, including wind turbines for electricity generation, animal waste for natural gas production and crops and forest products for biofuels production, rural America will lead the way to meet and even exceed the 25x’25 goal,” Peterson says.
If you’d like to know more about the 25x’25 resolution, educate yourself. You can learn more by visiting www.25×25.org. You can also use the site to endorse this new renewable energy vision for America or to sign up for the 25x’25 newsletter.
National agricultural and forestry leaders have been working to promote the 25x’25 resolution and have formed the 25x’25 Work Group.