House bill could provide $500,000 for AU bioenergy research

AUBURN – Auburn University could receive $500, 000 in federal funding this year to help support a new bioenergy research center, Congressman Mike Rogers announced this week.

Known as the Southeast Bioenergy Initiative, the project would help further support and expand research being conducted by Auburn University’s Center for Bioenergy and Bioproducts, part of AU’s Natural Resources Management & Development Institute.

“We appreciate Congressman Rogers’s support in the House and hope the Senate also will pass the funding measure,” said Larry Fillmer, the institute’s executive director. “Auburn University has embarked on a comprehensive research program aimed at creating biofuel technologies. Through this initiative, Auburn is committing major resources into the development of conversion processes that can release the energy potential of Alabama’s forests, crops and agricultural byproducts into liquid fuels, power and other high-value products.”

The funds, which were included in H.R. 2641, the Energy and Water appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2008, passed the House on Tuesday 312 to 112.

“Our nation must reduce its dependence on foreign sources of oil,” said Rogers, a member of the Agriculture Committee. “This funding, if passed later this year, could not only help Auburn University remain on the cutting edge of bioenergy research and development, but over the long term also help our nation increase its production of renewable, home-grown energy sources using agriculture products grown right here in East Alabama.”

Rogers said the bill has several steps to go before being signed into law and that the final funding amount could change significantly or be eliminated altogether. The bill’s companion must also be passed through committee in the Senate as well as receive a vote in the full Senate. The bill’s Conference Report, a compromise bill including House and Senate features, must also be passed by both houses later this year before the funding is final.

“While it’s still early in the process and things could change, I’m delighted to have helped secure these funds in this bill, which would help support this important new Third District initiative,” Rogers said. “We’re still several steps away from final passage, and I certainly appreciate the ongoing support of Senators Shelby and Sessions in the Senate as the process moves forward.”

Rogers also serves on the Homeland Security Committee in Congress, as well as on the Armed Services Committee.

Contact: Brian Keeter, (334) 844-4650 (bkeeter@auburn.edu), or
Mike Clardy, (334) 844-9999 (clardch@auburn.edu)