Thursday, April 18, 2024

Rep. Schrier introduces bipartisan bill to aid Biofuel Research and Development

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representatives Kim Schrier, M.D. (D-WA), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA) and Chellie Pingree (D-ME) introduced the Biochar Research Network Act of 2023 to increase research funding for biochar on March 21. Biochar is a charcoal-like product created by heating organic material in a low-oxygen setting to sequester carbon, create fuel, and use as a soil amendment. This legislation will boost agricultural research on biochar to better understand how it can help with water filtration and retention, crop production, and carbon sequestration.

“As a Washingtonian who treasures our natural environment, understands the importance of water conservation and soil health, and advocates for 8th district farmers, I am very excited about this bill,” said Rep. Schrier. “The Biochar Research Network Act is a critical bill that will help us understand more about how biochar can benefit farmers and provide important opportunities for economic development in rural America.”

Existing research has shown that biochar can sequester carbon, improve the capacity of soil to hold water and nutrients, and boost crop yields. However, it is important to fill knowledge gaps. This act provides $50 million annually from 2023 through 2028 for research at up to 20 facilities to understand more about biochar benefits.

By funding research at universities and federal agencies, this legislation will help to facilitate the creation of a commercial, private market for biochar production and use. Eligible research entities include land-grant universities, the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Forest Service, and research facilities within the Department of Energy, Commerce, and Interior.

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