By Donna Harman
President & CEO
Things are moving quickly in the Senate this week on the pending energy bill (S. 2012). One amendment in particular, introduced by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), seeks to clarify what our industry has long known about the carbon neutrality of biomass and provide valuable direction to federal agencies.
Today, the treatment of biomass in federal policies is vague and inconsistent between agencies, while sound science recognizes the benefits of using biomass in the full carbon cycle. Paper and wood products manufacturers are the largest producers and users of bioenergy of any industrial sector in the U.S. Our members use biomass residuals from their operations to produce carbon neutral bioenergy that provides greenhouse gas reduction benefits while manufacturing biobased products that are useful to society. Unfortunately, as we are seeing unfold with the Clean Power Plan, these benefits are not always recognized. Furthermore, using biomass both in paper and wood products and for energy encourages private landowners to keep their land as forests.
It’s time for federal energy policies to fully recognize the benefits that biomass-based energy provides in our nation’s energy portfolio in the overall carbon cycle. We applaud Sens. Collins, King and Klobuchar for their efforts with this important amendment and encourage Congress to pass the full energy bill this week.