Biomass Magazine: Congressional caucus formed to support algae industry

October 29, 2013

By Erin Voegele | October 29, 2013

Reps. Scott Peters, D-Calif., and Matt Salmon, R-Ariz., recently launched the Congressional Algae Caucus in an effort to provide a forum for members of Congress and their staffs to learn about and interact with the emerging algae industry. The move has been applauded by the Algae Biomass Organization and Biotechnology Industry Organization.

“Algae-based products deserve a chance to compete on a level playing field with other technologies,” said Salmon. “In my own state we are already seeing the economic development that is possible from a thriving algae sector, from jobs to research and development.  High tech jobs will help grow our economy and through this caucus, I hope to draw attention to the great economic and environmental benefits of algae production.”

“I am excited about the opportunities for an increasingly substantive conversation that today’s Algae Caucus launch brings,” Peters said. “My hope is that the Algae Caucus is a place for bipartisan discussion on how to diversify our energy policy, while also informing Members of Congress about the jobs and partnerships the algae industry is creating, including at the University of California San Diego with the new California Center for Algae Biotechnology.”

Additional members of the Congressional Algae Caucus include Reps. Jackie Speier, D-Calif.; Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii; Tom Latham, R-Iowa; Trey Radel, R-Fla.; Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y.; Tim Walz, D-Minn.; Jared Polis, D-Colo.; Alcee Hastings, D-Fla.; Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M.; Susan Davis, D-Calif.; David Cicilline, D-R.I.; Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo.; Duncan Hunter, R-Calif.; and Steve Cohen, D-Texas.

Mary Rosenthal, executive director of the ABO, has spoken out in support of the initiative. “I want to thank Representatives Peters and Salmon for their bipartisan leadership in organizing the Congressional Algae Caucus,” she said. “The Algae Biomass Organization is excited to see so many representatives from both parties coming together to support algae’s promise to provide our nation with renewable fuels, feeds, plastics and a range of other products.”

BIO is also supportive of the revived Congressional Algae Caucus. “I want to thank Representatives Peters and Salmon for their bipartisan leadership in organizing the Congressional Algae Caucus, especially now as algae companies are beginning to construct their first commercial production facilities,” said Jim Greenwood, president and CEO of BIO.  “BIO supports the goals and efforts of the caucus in bringing awareness to the evolving role of algae in the production of sustainable, renewable fuels, chemicals and products. We welcome this important new platform for discussion of supportive federal policy, including reauthorization and robust funding of Farm Bill energy programs, maintaining the renewable fuel standard (RFS) and extending support for algae-based fuels and products in the tax code.”

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