Congressman Walden: 2nd attempt to save biomass shut down

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Congressman Greg Walden reiterates that scientists see ban on turning federal biomass into energy as pointless
From Congressman Greg Walden (R-Oregon)

• The Committee on Energy and Commerce, of which Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) is a member, finished its third day of considering amendments to the majority leadership’s national energy tax legislation to raise hundreds of billions of dollars to pay for a new Wall Street-style trading market for carbon.

• Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), who authored the bill, dedicated 55 pages of the 942-page legislation to figuring out how to compensate the thousands of American workers they admit will lose their jobs as a result of this new Wall Street-style trading scheme.

• Meanwhile, the bill still inflicts much harm on the prospects for a promising renewable biomass industry in Oregon, where the unemployment rate is already second only to Michigan among the 50 states.

• Rep. Walden has tried repeatedly to ensure that renewable biomass, which burns far cleaner than coal, contributes to healthier forests, and could create substantial job opportunities for rural Oregonians, is included in the bill.

• Another attempt today to improve the bill fell short, even though several Democratic members agreed that Rep. Walden had made a compelling case that producing clean renewable energy from the waste products that come off federal lands is a good idea.

• The society of American Foresters, the National Association of Forest Service Retirees, and the National Association of Counties have all urged the majority committee leadership to change the current biomass definition that, if enacted into law, would not allow rural forested communities surrounded by federal forests to use any waste material from those forests to create renewable energy.

• By rejecting the effort to change the biomass definition in this bill, the majority again formalized their lack of support for a viable renewable energy industry in numerous forested communities that would put rural Oregonians back to work, help meet objectives for renewable energy, and steward the health of our nation’s forests.