Mr. WU. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
I offer an amendment to invest further in renewable energy by creating a university based research program for biomass energy research. The amendment authorizes funds for competitive grants to support research at institutions of higher education to use trees killed by disease or insect infestation for biomass energy.
Priority will be given to research institutions in low-income or rural communities, those that already conduct research in this field, institutions which can enter joint ventures with Indian tribes and those institutions located near forests killed by massive disease or insect infestation.
Mr. Chairman, we must capitalize on America's universities for research and renewable energy. My amendment will harness universities as a resource to advance our renewable energy portfolio.
The amendment also ensures grants will be distributed throughout the United States. If fully funded, at least a dozen universities could be selected from the pool of university applicants.
In the Pacific Northwest, the unfortunate incidence of disease and insect infestation in our forests can be mitigated by turning dead trees into renewable energy. By targeting universities in rural and low-income communities, we create needed jobs and help develop those jobs in communities which frequently have felt neglected in our pursuit of pro-environmental causes.
Dead trees can be an opportunity to create clean, renewable energy, generate jobs and protect our healthy forests by using our dead and dying ones for biomass energy. I urge my colleagues to support this research program.
Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. HALL of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
I have more problems with the amendment than I do with the author, and maybe the author and I can talk here and then get together and work some things out.
Actually, my problems with it is that we are told that it amends the biofuels subtitle and creates a university based research and development competitive grant program in a geographically diverse manner. That's a pretty long sentence there for me to try to figure out exactly what it means. But as I go down through it and see, in awarding the grants, it says that ``priority should be given to institutions of higher education with all of the following.'' I want to point out these ``following,''
and I know that the author is probably going to be able to explain them to me.
But I remember one time in the Texas Senate when we had a man stand up and he was trying to pass a bill as to where all the voting machines had to be constructed, and they all had to be constructed in a county in Texas, and he described the county as being in excess of 20,000 but not in excess of 20,003, and his county had 20,002 in it.
Now, I don't know if your labeling of these narrows it down to one institution or two institutions. I know there aren't any in Texas, because we don't have any Indians in Texas. But could you give me a little explanation on that?
Mr. WU. Mr. Chairman, there are at least several institutions that I know of in the Pacific Northwest that would qualify; and I suspect that if a fine research institution in Texas were to team up, say, with an Indian tribe in New Mexico or Oklahoma, I am sure that many institutions in Texas would also qualify under these criteria.
I would further like to point out that, unlike other grant programs which specify a handful of States which are to be given priority, this amendment does not do that. It is designed to be open to schools from all 50 States.
Mr. HALL of Texas. Do you mind if I just lay out what is in the bill? It says it has to be an established program of research and renewable energy. That's fine.
Locations that are low income or outside of an urbanized area, I guess that's okay.
A joint venture with an Indian tribe, that's where you start to lose me.
In proximity to trees dying of disease or insect infestation as a source of woody biomass, that one really does get to me. I just don't know how much biomass is adjacent to any of the universities, particularly any of the universities in my area, certainly not in my district.
And the amendment authorizes $25 million with no fiscal year designation. And a little bit further, it is unclear from the all-inclusive list of how many colleges and universities would be eligible to receive these grants under this section.
If you could just explain a few of those and tell me you would work with me before we get to the front gate, I would be glad to listen.
Mr. WU. Mr. Chairman, it is my recollection that Lyndon Johnson paid a great deal of attention to trees in Texas and their positive and detrimental nature at times. It has come to my attention, through my public and private activities in the Pacific Northwest, that we have a tremendous number of trees, some of which are dying of disease and insect infestation, and those trees become a threat to our healthy forests.
It was the intent of this author to try to have a win-win by generating energy from dead and dying trees which are otherwise a threat to the healthy forests which remain.