Conservative group hits GOP over energy subsidies in farm bill

The American Energy Alliance (AEA), a conservative advocacy group, is launching radio ads designed to put political pressure on House Republicans to abandon what the group calls wasteful renewable-energy subsidies in the farm bill.

The $80,000 worth of ads launching this week urge listeners to weigh in against the legislation by contacting three GOP supporters of the bill: Reps. Kristi Noem (S.D.), Steve King (Iowa) and House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (Okla.).

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“Congress is at it again, this time with a so-called farm bill, which was supposed to support our local farmers and our nation’s agriculture industry,” note the ads running in the three lawmakers’ states. “What Washington politicians aren’t telling us is that their bill gives away millions in taxpayer money for wasteful energy subsidies — another payday for Congress’s corporate cronies.”

The sweeping five-year bill contains support for a number of programs that aid rural biofuels producers, although the House version does not provide mandatory funding for the initiatives. The Senate’s bill contains $800 million worth of mandatory spending for energy programs.

“Washington’s lobbyists won’t fool us with their dirty tricks by calling it the farm bill. It actually means higher energy prices for our families,” the AEA ads state. “And we can’t support another bill that will hand taxpayer money to fund senseless energy boondoggles.”

The path forward for the five-year farm bill is unclear, and the House is slated to vote this week on a one-year extension of the 2008 farm bill that’s coupled with new disaster assistance.

The AEA radio spots will bolster pressure on the House from the right over the farm bill, legislation that’s already facing criticism from other conservative groups.

The AEA is the advocacy arm of the Institute for Energy Research, which is backed partly by the oil industry.