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Vilsack announces biofuels grants, says Obama to show contrasting vision tonight

President Barack Obama “is prepared tonight to provide a contrasting vision based on what he has already done — getting America back in the business of making and creating things,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told The Hagstrom Report today in a telephone news conference highlighting the release of biofuels assistance in the northeastern states.

He noted that Obama “was insistent on saving the auto industry” and that he also expects the president to talk about the importance of investing in infrastructure and his plans to take “the savings” from ending two wars to make those investments as quickly as possible.

The president will also contrast those plans with Romney’s views on tax cuts for the wealthy and policies that led to job losses under President George W. Bush, Vilsack said.

Vilsack called reporters from Pennsylvania where he announced the sixth and final award aimed at developing regional biomass supply chains. The $10 million five-year award went to Pennsylvania State University, which will lead a team of researchers and staff to develop biomass supply chains for the production of liquid transportation and aviation biofuels in the Northeast.

The other researchers are from Cornell University, Delaware State University, Ohio State University, Rutgers University, West Virginia University, University of Vermont, Drexel University, American Refining Group, Ernst Conservation Seeds, Case New Holland, Praxair, Inc., Idaho National Lab, Mascoma Biofuels, Primus Green Energy, Double A Willow, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Aloterra Energy, Oak Ridge National Lab and USDA's Agricultural Research Service.

In the call, Vilsack noted that as part of the grant Ohio researchers will study whether switchgrass and other biomass crops can be grown on land that has been strip-mined for coal and on marginal flood plain lands.