Congressional representatives often form caucuses in the House to promote important issues. In our field, there’s the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition, Energy Savings Performance Caucus, Oceans Caucus and a Climate Caucus – now there’s also an Algae Caucus.
Led by Reps Scott Peters (D-CA) and Matt Salmon (R-AZ), the goal is to educate Congress on the importance of this nascent industry – which is opening its first commercial factories – and to find ways to help it grow.
Algae has applications across the economy as fuel, food, and green chemicals and plastics. It grows faster than other bio feedstocks and uses fewer resources.
The algae biofuels market is expected to reach $1.6 billion by 2015.
For example, Sapphire Energy’s Green Crude Farm in New Mexico is operational, refining algae into crude oil for transportation. The company has raised about $300 million in public and private backing – its Series C round was one of the biggest venture capital deals in 2012. Commercial airlines have been testing and even running on fuels that include Solazyme‘s (Nasdaq: SZYM) algae.
"We all share an interest in solving America’s energy and economic challenges, which is why it’s important to accelerate development of a robust algae industry that’s already creating jobs across the country," comments Rep. Peters. We need to enhance the dialogue on the Hill about this industry, he says.
"Algae-based products deserve a chance to compete on a level playing field with other technologies," says Rep. 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."
The Congressional Algae Caucus includes:
Scott Peters (D-52CA) (Co-Chair)
Matt Salmon (R-5AZ) (Co-Chair)
Tulsi Gabbard (D-2HI)
Tom Latham (R-3IA)
Trey Radel (R-19FL)
Louise Slaughter (D-25NY)
Tim Walz (D-1MN)
Jackie Speier (D-14CA)
Susan Davis (D-53CA)
Ben Ray Lujan (D-3NM)
Alcee Hastings (D-20FL)
David Cicilline (D-1RI)
Ed Perlmutter (D-7CO)
Jared Polis (D-2CO)
Duncan Hunter (R-50CA)