Florida joins renewable fuels effort

Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Charles H. Bronson has joined his colleagues at “25x’25" in calling on the nation’s policymakers to adopt the organization’s ambitious renewable energy goal — 25 percent of the nation’s energy supply from renewable sources by 2025.

Bronson, a Steering Committee member of the non-partisan “25x’25", said he regards the goal as attainable and believes that Florida can be a leader in the effort.

“With Florida’s abundant sunshine, ample rainfall and roughly 10 million acres of farm land, our agricultural and forestry industries can produce massive amounts of ethanol and bio-diesel,” Bronson said.

“Such an effort would help reduce this country’s dependence on foreign oil while at the same time provide our growers with another crop to make a living on and assure the future viability of their farms.”

The “25x’25" action plan would have significant benefits for the economy, national security and environment.

If implemented on a national basis, the plan would:

• Generate $700 billion in new economic activity annually.

• Increase farm income by $180 billion.

• Create 4 million to 5 million new jobs.

• Reduce U.S. oil consumption by 2.5 million barrels a day.

• Reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 1 billion tons.

More than 400 organizations, including the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Wildlife Federation and General Motors, have endorsed the “25x’25" vision.

In Florida, Bronson has launched Florida’s “Farm to Fuel” initiative — a program that seeks to implement the “25x’25" vision in Florida by encouraging agricultural producers and foresters to grow fuel crops, and recruiting companies to build processing facilities in the state to convert crops and bio-mass to fuel.

Earlier this month, Bronson and Michael Sole, the Secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, awarded $15 million in state grants to producers who are working on renewable energy projects.

“We’re committed to working with our agricultural producers, our state legislature and the governor’s office in building a renewable energy industry in Florida that is the envy of the nation,” Bronson said.

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