FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 8, 2010
Forest Biomass Initiative passes Legislature
Almost unanimous support for Forest Biomass Supply Agreements Bill
OLYMPIA – An effort to build a green forest biomass industry in Washington’s forests took a step forward over the weekend as the Legislature passed the Washington State Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) Forest Biomass Supply Agreements Bill. This executive-request legislation from Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark takes the next step towards creating a forest biomass industry from state trust lands.
The Forest Biomass Supply Agreements Combined Bill 2481 passed with just one dissenting vote in the House of Representatives and unanimous support in the Senate. If signed by the Governor, the bill will allow DNR to enter into long-term agreements to supply biomass from overcrowded young forests and after-harvest slash to the biomass energy economy. To date, a major obstacle to realizing the benefits of the biomass energy has been securing reliable and predictably priced biomass feedstock.
The bill incurs no cost to the State’s General Fund and, actually, has the potential to generate revenues from state-managed forestland.
“I appreciate the Legislature’s support for our Forest Biomass Initiative. It will not only help achieve a greener economy and create rural jobs, but can earn some added revenue for schools and other state trusts,” said Commissioner Goldmark. “I look forward to support from Governor Gregoire on this effort.”
The bill now moves to the Governor’s desk for her signature in the coming weeks.
In 2009, HB 2165 was enacted into law authorizing DNR to implement biomass energy pilot projects in eastern and western Washington. Removing biomass feedstock in ecologically sustainable ways to produce energy (liquid fuels or heat and electricity) can:
- Provide income for forest landowners while improving forest health;
- Create rural jobs;
- Reduce wildfires and greenhouse gas emissions; and
- Aid in the production of renewable energy.
In January 2010, Goldmark announced the first four companies selected to partner with DNR in test projects in renewable energy projects using biomass from forested state trust lands. The pilot projects will use woody biomass—the residual waste (slash)—that the companies purchase in part from state trust lands managed by DNR. The biomass can come from timber harvests or be removed during forest health treatments such as thinning over-crowded and fire-prone tree stands.
Media Contact: Aaron Toso, Director of Communications & Outreach, 360-902-1023, and firstname.lastname@example.org
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