(Bio)fueling farm policy: the biofuels boom and the 2008 farm bill
In the mid-2000s, rising gas prices, political instability, pollution, and fossil fuel depletion brought renewable domestic energy production onto the policy agenda. Biofuels, or fuels made from plant materials, came to be seen as America’s hope for energy security, environmental conservation, and rural economic revitalization. Yet even as the actual environmental, economic, and energy contributions of a biofuels boom remained debatable, support for biofuels swelled and became a prominent driver of not only US energy policy but of US farm policy as well. This paper asks why biofuels became such a powerful force in farm policy debates, and draws on policy windows theory and discourse analysis to analyze biofuels’ contributions to the passage of the 2008 farm bill. It finds that budgetary and political factors combined with a particular set of patriotic biofuels-oriented discourses to carry energy policy debates into farm policy. It also comments on the implications of biofuels policies for conservation and sustainable land use in 2008 and beyond. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010
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Volume (Year): 27 (2010)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
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