Timber provides certainty amid tax reform questions

Working forests – those managed to grow and harvest timber – have a long history as economic drivers and valuable assets. For many rural communities, timber is the local economy – working forests support 2.4 million jobs and $98 billion in payroll, mostly in rural communities. For the private forest owners who plant, grow and manage working forests, and for the increasing number of Americans who invest in working forests as part of their retirement portfolios, timber is an attractive long-term investment that withstands market volatility.

As they grow, working forests are an environmental asset too – filtering 25 percent of our drinking water, providing habitat for 60 percent of our at-risk species, and sequestering enough carbon to offset 12 percent -15 percent of our industrial carbon emissions annually. These valuable environmental benefits are largely underwritten by the investments of private landowners over decades, and in most cases are provided to the public for free. 

Dave Tenny, The Hill (8/9/17)

University Of Maine Launches Demonstration Of Biomass To Bioproducts Pilot Plant

On May 1, 2017, the University of Maine (UMaine) began a continuous 100-hour demonstration of a biomass to bioproducts pilot plant at its Technology Research Center (TRC).  The plant, which is the result of a partnership between UMaine and Biofine Technology, is capable of processing up to one ton of woody biomass per day into chemicals for the manufacturing of biofuels, biochemical, and advanced materials.  
UMaine will use the plant to scale up the Forest Bioproducts Research Institute’s (FBRI) patented conversion technology to produce jet fuel from woody biomass.

National Law Review (5/9/17)

Advocates push to move biomass up the menu of renewable energy options

Ketchikan hosted the annual Alaska Wood Energy Conference last week, where participants heard about how biomass works in different places, and how to make the technology more known, and eventually less expensive to install and operate.

In his presentation, Chris Rose of the Renewable Energy Alaska Project spent some time making the case for biomass: energy demand is on the rise, fossil fuels will run out, and renewable energy is a fast-growing industry that the United States – and Alaska — shouldn’t miss out on.

“Alaskans are estimated to be using about $5 billion worth of energy every year,” he said. “So, if you collectively put together all the money that you and I put into transportation, heat and electricity: 730,000 people, we’re spending $5 billion. Let’s just say we can save 20 percent of that $5 billion. That’s a billion dollars we’re literally burning up every year.”

Leila Kheiry KRBD-Ketchikan (4/17/17)

Oregon Senate backs woody biomass as 'green energy'

Oregon Senate Republicans say adding woody biomass as a recognized source of green energy technologies will help reduce carbon emissions and create jobs in rural Oregon. The proposal, Senate Bill 634, passed the Senate Thursday with unanimous bipartisan support.

"We need to reimagine energy policy and modernize it so our regulations reflect it is 2017. We should be leveraging our current resources to achieve the greatest outcomes possible," said Senate Republican Deputy Leader Tim Knopp of Bend. "We can create tremendous impact in rural Oregon too by simply allowing developers to use renewable energy that includes woody biomass."

"Using biomass for energy also supports Oregon's investments in forest health," said Dylan Kruse, Sustainable Northwest policy director. "For many areas of the state, the best energy choice may be biomass, and Senate Bill 634 will make sure this option is on the table."

KTVZ NewsChannel 21 (4/16/17)

Bioenergy supports rural jobs, minimizes wildfires

U.S. Forest Service is working to expand renewable wood energy markets by providing technical assistance and grants to public and private sector partners through its Woody Biomass Utilization program. By supporting efforts to reuse the excess wood from forest thinnings, urban tree trimmings, and forest products manufacturing facilities as well as trees killed by fires, insects, disease, and hurricanes, the agency seeks to increase the amount of locally-produced energy while improving forest health and resilience.

Joyce El Kouarti, U.S. Forest Service (3/23/17)

Forest Products Employees Hit Capitol Hill To Share Local Impacts Of Legislation And Regulations

The U.S. forest products industry is vitally important to our nation's economy, employing about 900,000 people - many in small, rural communities. It ranks among the top 10 manufacturers in 45 states and represents four percent of U.S. manufacturing GDP.
PPRC members discussed the carbon neutrality of biomass and manufacturing byproducts. The carbon neutrality of biomass harvested from sustainably managed forests has been recognized repeatedly by agencies and institutions around the world. Forest products industry manufacturers use biomass residuals to power their facilities, reducing fossil fuel use and providing significant carbon reduction benefits to the environment. The PPRC urges policymakers to formally recognize the industry's use of biomass for energy as carbon neutral.

Pulp & Paperworkers’ Resource Council (2/17/17)

National Association of Manufacturers Supports Biomass in Testimony

ROSS EISENBERG: "It is our position that forest biomass, it is part of the sustainable carbon cycle, it harnesses this energy that would otherwise be lost and absolutely should be considered carbon neutral…This is renewable energy and we should treat it as such. We should be finding ways to get these manufacturers to use something that would otherwise be wasted."

Ross Eisenberg is the Vice President of Energy and Resources Policy at the National Association of Manufacturers. 

Testimony before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment hearing on “Modernizing Environmental Laws: Challenges and Opportunities for Expanding Infrastructure and Promoting Development and Manufacturing” U.S. House of Representatives (2/16/17)


Maine Compass: Biomass power benefits Maine

Biomass is produced here, harvested here, and often consumed here. As a fuel for heating and power generation, it is an option far superior economically to a fossil fuel like heating oil, of which 78 cents of every dollar spent leaves the region, according to one U.S. Energy Information Agency estimate.

Dana Doran, Bob Cleaves, Jeremy Payne, Central Maine (2/3/17)

Jameson French: Stalled federal policy hurts NH biomass

Looking beyond the environmental benefits, it is important to understand that biomass power supports timberland ownership and, by extension, our rural economies. The strong markets for biomass products enables timberland owners to sustainably manage their properties, and it’s well known that long-term private owners of land are the best stewards. It contributes to making timberland ownership economically viable.

Jameson French, New Hampshire Union Leader (1/20/2017)

EPA’s biomass climate mess

Dr. Roger Sedjo of Resource for the Future, and Dr. Stephen Shaler of the University of Maine wrote recently that, “[A]s the biomass industry steadily expanded, forest stocks in the American South – a key source of raw biomass – have actually increased by almost 1.2 billion tons of volume…. [F]or every ton of low quality hardwood removed for biomass energy each year, forests are growing an additional 2.4 tons of volume.” They added that, “Removing biomass from growing forests… helps prevent wildfires – themselves a source of CO2 pollution – by clearing out dense undergrowth that increases fire risk.” Today, carbon storage in our forests offsets thirteen percent of US CO2 emissions annually.

Janaki Alavalapati, The Hill (12/19/16)

Climate change strategy needs forest biomass

Federal policies now discourage investments in biomass-using energy facilities, and they also make it difficult to remove hazardous fuels on federal lands and to develop contracts that are economically viable for private contractors. Policies that promote both active forest management and the carbon neutrality of forest biomass would help reduce these obstacles. They would also help support rural communities and the business infrastructure that are essential for effective management of local forests.

Paul Adams and Steve Pilkerton, Oregon Live (12/6/16)

See the forest for the trees and recognize benefits of biomass

Using biomass for energy also contributes to the health of our forests. When biomass is removed from growing forests, the remaining trees are helped to grow larger and remain healthy.
As large and small landowners understand, active, sustainable forest management means harvesting trees. This contributes to the health of forests and their carbon-capturing abilities, today and into the future, and means that the income from these harvests gives landowners the ability to continue to own the land.

Sherry Huber, Portland Press Herald (11/25/2016)

Alaska Airlines fuels commercial flight with forestry waste

A timber harvest can often leave what's called a "slash pile" of leftovers that are usually burned. On Monday Alaska Airlines flew a number of commercial passengers across the United States by burning some of that woody biomass as fuel.
According to WSU, if every Alaska Airlines flight from Seattle used the same 20 percent blend, the resulting reduction in in greenhouse gas emissions would be equivalent to taking about 30,000 cars off the road for a full year.

Erick Mack, New Atlas (11/15/16)

American workers deserve certainty on biomass energy

The forest products industry is the largest producer and user of bioenergy in America’s industrial economy. Paper mills use biomass residuals from their operations—basically the leftovers of making the paper we use every day for communication, hygiene, and environmentally friendly packaging for food and other products—to create bioenergy. That bioenergy yields significant carbon reducing benefits.

Leo Gerard and Donna Harman, The Hill (11/15/2016)

Why Collins deserves praise for fighting for Maine’s biomass industry

American forests absorb 13 percent of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels. These forests produce the raw materials for home builders, papermakers, sawmills, furniture makers and other activities that support valuable products and high-paying jobs. The resource does this while quietly growing year after year. Even with all the wood we use as a nation and in Maine, we have more timber volume in Maine today than we did in 1900.

Peter Triandafillou, Bangor Daily News (11/15/16)

Biomass mass jeopardizes jobs in Hampton Roads

The recognition of biomass is imperative for the health of our manufacturing sector and its contribution to the economy. According to a report by the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, the Virginia forestry sector has a total annual impact of more than $17 billion in total industry output and supports about 103,000 jobs. The impact of inaction over the past six years cannot be overestimated, and the facts speak for themselves.

Vince Geiser, Pilot Online (11/6/2016)

Editorial: Recognize the benefits of biomass

As The Oregonian reported recently, Oregon has an opportunity in biomass to show the rest of the country how it could work. Oregon’s federal forests are overcrowded with small trees that increase the risk and severity of wildfire. Thinning those forests is especially important near communities. Turning that wood into energy creates needed power and jobs.

Editorial Board, Bend Bulletin (10/25/2016)

Landin, Schienebeck: Biomass energy is part of a clean energy solution

The pulp, paper, packaging, tissue and wood products sectors use biomass to generate roughly two-thirds of our power so we are able to dramatically reduce our fossil fuel purchases. And we do it with leftovers from the manufacturing process — along with wood lost due to insects, disease and fire — that would otherwise decompose naturally emitting the carbon back into the atmosphere.

Jeff Landin, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (10/19/2016)