Last October, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a strong package of programs and incentives for the U.S. biofuels industry. Vilsack said the Obama administration was pursuing such a course not only to alleviate dependence on foreign oil but as a way to revivify U.S. flyover country.

During a Jan. 20 press conference, Vilsack was back to the biofuels topic, pointing to Obama administration efforts to make good on earlier promises. President Obama will surely play up the same during his coming State of the Union address.

“Building an active biofuels and biomass industry in every region of the country will help to create jobs and provide economic opportunity for people who live in rural communities,” said Vilsack in a prepared statement. “The Obama administration knows these investments will benefit all of America because renewable energy provides the opportunity for a cleaner environment and greater energy security for our country.”

For more, see Obama administration makes massive biofuel push

With the biofuel industry unhappy with banks’ tight lending, Vilsack said the federal government would provide four companies $645 million in loan guarantees to jumpstart the building of fuel-producing facilities.

The Southeast will benefit from an additional $405 million in loan guarantees provided to biofuel projects in Alabama, Florida, and Mississippi(where Pontotoc’s Enerkem Corp. will receive an $80 million loan guarantee to build a refinery capable of producing 10 million gallons of advanced biofuel).

Trying to goose production of biofuels not derived from corn, Vilsack said the Obama administration is also making use of the Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels (BPAB).

“Under the program, payments are based on the amount of advanced biofuels a recipient produces from renewable biomass, other than corn kernel starch,” says a USDA release. “Eligible examples include biofuels derived from cellulose, crop residue, animal, food and yard waste material, biogas (landfill and sewage waste treatment gas), vegetable oil and animal fat.”

Among BPAB recipients in the South:

• Greenlight Biofuels, LLC; $13,211.40

• Futurefuel Chemical Company; $384,227.34
• Pinnacle Biofuels, Inc.; $14,165.71

• Agri-Source Fuels, LLC; $5,009.97
• G2 Energy, LLC; $1,518.14
• Bio Fuel Consultants of North America; $1,413.92

• Nittany Biodiesel; $138,905.11
• U.S. Biofuels Inc.; $74,906.71

• Owensboro Gran Company, LLC; $401,187.10
• Griffin Industries, Inc.; $12,186.11

• Paseo Cargill Energy, LLC; $406,424.07
• Mid-America Biofuels, LLC; $379,513.20
• Abengoa Bioenergy Corporation; $213,891.03
• Prairie Pride, Inc.; $94,305.08
• Show Me Energy Cooperative; $31,376.12
• Natural Biodiesel Plant; LLC: $18,978.80
• Global Fuels;  LLC; $9,696.39

• Scott Petroleum Corporation; $74,894.29

North Carolina
• Triangle Biofuels Industries, Inc.; $6,452.38
• Piedmont Biofuels Industrial, LLC; $5,437.92
• Blue Ridge Biofuels, LLC; $3,992.71
• North American Bio-Energies; $2,926.64

• Sunsoil, LLC; $1,982.92

• White Energy, Inc.; $1,022,026.02
• Green Earth Fuels Of Houston; $509,386.90
• Levelland/Hockley County Ethanol, LLC; $304,897.19
• RBF Port Neches, LLC; $99,993.77
• Beacon Energy (Texas) Corporation; $48,984.17
• Double Diamond Energy, Inc.; $6,144.39
• New Energy Fuels, LLC; $3,825.80