House Passes Ban on Chinese Farmland Ownership

( – In a rare show of agreement between left and right, the House of Representatives passed a measure on March 30th that would ban Chinese investors from buying US land suitable for so-called “renewable” energy or fuel production.

The measure came in the form of an amendment to a bill called the Lower Energy Costs Act. The amendment came from Iowa Republican Randy Feenstra, who took the amendment from a separate bill he introduced in the House earlier.

The amendment would ban foreign enemy governments from buying any US land deemed suitable for making “renewable” fuel or energy.

Feenstra’s home state of Iowa is a large producer of wind energy and produces more “biofuels” such as ethanol than any other state.

The bill to add the amendment to the Lower Energy Costs Act passed the house in a 407-26 vote. Two-hundred-and-twenty-three Republicans and 184 Democrats voted for it, while 26 Democrats voted against it. Eight other lawmakers cast no votes.

Feenstra said he was “proud that my amendment. . . to the Lower Energy Costs Act passed the House of Representatives with wide support.” He said that China needs to be barred from buying any US farmland that can be used for biofuel or renewable energy production, which he said was “vital” to Iowa’s rural economy.

“American farmland belongs to American farmers,” Feenstra said.

About 25% of the ethanol (a form of alcohol often added to gasoline) made in the US comes from Iowa. The state makes 4.7 billion gallons a year from corn. That amount is 30 times Iowa’s annual consumption of ethanol within the state.

Iowa also produces five times the state’s annual consumption of biodiesel, also made from corn.

As a windy state, Iowa is well-suited to generating electricity from windmills. Nearly 60% of the state’s electricity comes from these.

The recent Congressional amendment regarding farmland is just one piece of legislation being considered by lawmakers concerned with Chinese ownership of US real estate.

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