U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, joined 46 U.S. Senators in a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture urging the agencies to support the growth of biomass energy, which makes up approximately 35 percent of Michigan’s renewable energy. This letter calls on the Administration to streamline current policies, which would boost job creation in the biomass industry and spur economic growth in Michigan.
‘We write to support biomass energy as a sustainable, responsible, renewable, and economically significant energy source,’ the Senators wrote. ‘Federal policies across all departments and agencies must remove any uncertainties and contradictions through a clear, unambiguous message that forest bioenergy is part of the nation’s energy future.’
Michigan’s 20 million acres of forestland support thousands of jobs and bring in $16.3 billion per year to Michigan’s economy. These forests directly contribute to the state’s biomass industry, which supports hundreds of local jobs and contributes millions of dollars to communities throughout the state. There are currently seven biomass power plants in Michigan generating carbon neutral electricity and reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.
The letter was led by Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Susan Collins (R-ME) and included Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Roy Blunt (R-MI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), John Boozman (R-AR), Bob Casey (D-PA), Richard Burr (R-NC), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Al Franken (D-MN), Thad Cochran (R-MI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), John Cornyn (R-TX), Angus King (I-ME), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Steve Daines (R-MT), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Patty Murray (D-WA), Johnny Isaskson (R-GA), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), David Perdue (R-GA), Rob Portman (R-OH), Jon Tester (D-MT), James Risch (R-ID), Mark Warner (D-VA), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Tim Scott (R-SC), John Thune (R-SD), Richard Shelby (R-AL), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Pat Toomey (R-PA), David Vitter (R-LA), and Roger Wicker (R-MS).
The full text of the letter follows.
Dear Administrator McCarthy, Secretary Moniz, and Secretary Vilsack:
We write to support biomass energy as a sustainable, responsible, renewable, and economically significant energy source. Federal policies across all departments and agencies must remove any uncertainties and contradictions through a clear, unambiguous message that forest bioenergy is part of the nation’s energy future.
Many states are relying on renewable biomass to meet their energy goals, and we support renewable biomass to create jobs and economic growth while meeting our nation’s energy needs. A comprehensive science, technical, and legal administrative record supports a clear and simple policy establishing the benefits of energy from forest biomass. Federal policies that add unnecessary costs and complexity will discourage rather than encourage investment in working forests, harvesting operations, bioenergy, wood products, and paper manufacturing. Unclear or contradictory signals from federal agencies could discourage biomass utilization as an energy solution.
The carbon neutrality of forest biomass has been recognized repeatedly by numerous studies, agencies, institutions, legislation, and rules around the world, and there has been no dispute about the carbon neutrality of biomass derived from residuals of forest products manufacturing and agriculture. Our constituents employed in the biomass supply chain deserve a federal policy that recognizes the clear benefits of forest bioenergy. We urge you to ensure that federal policies are consistent and reflect the carbon neutrality of forest bioenergy.
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