Many of these barriers exist at the federal and state levels, and stem from lack of an overall national plan for the development of algaculture, from the overlapping jurisdictions of other federal agencies over different aspects of algae cultivation, (Fig. 3), and from the diverse end products generated by algae. Fig. 3 Federal
agency jurisdiction over algae versus terrestrial crops. Four different federal departments hold jurisdiction over various aspects of algae cultivation, research, and products. EERE energy efficiency & renewable RO4929097 order energy, NIFA National Institute of Food & Agriculture, ARS Agricultural Research Service, APHIS Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service, TSCA toxic substance control act Agencies that currently hold some responsibility over algae are the DOE, USDA, DOD, and EPA. The DOE has been involved in algae biofuel research since the onset of the 25-year long ASP in 1980 and has done extensive research on both algal biology and large-scale cultivation under its Biomass Program (Sheehan et al. 1998). Findings have been reported in both the ASP close-out report and the National Algal Biofuels Technology Roadmap (U.S. DOE 2010). The DOE also C188-9 appropriates funding for grants and loans to industry and academic partners
doing algae biofuel R&D. The DOD appropriates R&D grants and participates in demonstrations for algal biofuel use. It has currently entered contracts for developing commercial-scale production. While the USDA is responsible for regulatory oversight and approval, biotechnology and environmental regulation of genetically modified crops, the EPA has asserted jurisdiction for the permitting of genetically engineered algae varieties under its Toxic Substance Control Act, further supporting the notion of uncoordinated and overlapping federal support and regulation of the algae industry.
There are also statutory limitations for the USDA’s support of algae. Existing law, although not defined well and left open to individual Adenosine programs for interpretation, may have the ability to support algae when used to produce a feed or food; the same standard, however, is not applied to algae if the end product is used to produce energy. None of these inconsistencies exist for the program crops (e.g., corn); they qualify for the vast array of USDA assistance no matter what products they support. The USDA asserts Semaxanib responsibilities for agricultural policies pertaining to algae, but the end-use of algae as an energy source has created uncertainty in the applicability of these policies to algae cultivation. While a clear case can be made for expanding these programs for algal biomass used for food and nutraceutical purposes, there are still holes in the existing framework to accommodate algal biomass grown for bioenergy purposes.