From Cronkite News:
Anticipating a day when Arizona becomes a leader in producing algae for biofuel, a Tucson lawmaker is pushing to have algae farms and related facilities defined — and taxed — like any corn field or packing plant.
Rep. Matt Heinz, a Democrat, has introduced two bills the he said will allow for the growth of algaculture, or algae farming.
“If we don’t, it could become cost-prohibitive to expand algacultivation,” Heinz said.
On Monday, the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee endorsed HB 2225, which would expand the definition of agricultural lands to include algaculture research, development and commercial production on state trust land.
HB 2226, scheduled for a committee hearing Thursday, would expand the definition of agricultural real property for the purposes of taxation to incorporate algaculture. That includes research, development and commercial production of algae for biofuels or hydrogen.
The bills only cover the cultivation of algae, not the process of extracting oil, Heinz said.
Algae farming doesn’t yet have a strong presence in Arizona, though Arizona State University and University of Arizona researchers are working to develop the science both in their labs and in partnerships with local companies.