WASHINGTON, DC, July 1, 2015 – the National Alliance of Forest Owners (NAFO) today thanked Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and 44 other Senators for their leadership on a letter to U. S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy, Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack urging recognition of forest biomass as carbon neutral in forthcoming policy.

“We thank Senators Collins and Merkley and the 26 Republicans, 17 Democrats and 1 Independent who joined them for their commitment to carbon neutral forest biomass as part of our nation’s energy solution,” said Dave Tenny, NAFO President and CEO. “The carbon benefits of forest biomass are well documented by forestry science experts and further supported by government data. The strong bipartisan support in this letter sends a strong signal that it’s time for our Federal policy to align with the sheer weight of evidence supporting forest biomass and provide a clear and simple approach to recognizing the carbon benefits biomass provides.”

The carbon benefits of forest biomass are well established:

  • They are recognized by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Energy Information Administration.
  • On Nov. 6, 2014, one hundred nationally recognized forest scientists, representing 80 universities, sent a letter to EPA stating the long-term carbon benefits of forest bioenergy. This group weighed a comprehensive synthesis of the best peer-reviewed science and affirmed the carbon benefits of biomass.
  • Strong markets have kept forests as forests. Based on regularly collected USDA data, U.S. timberlands are growing at more than twice the rate of harvests. The total volume of trees growing in U.S. forests has increased 50% in the past 60 years.
  • EPA data show that carbon storage in U.S. forests continues to increase, offsetting about 15% of total U.S. CO2 emissions annually.

“We look forward to our ongoing work with Congress and the Administration to help set a clear and simple policy providing forest owners the certainty they need to continue providing carbon and other environmental benefits to society for the long term,” Tenny concluded.

Senators signing on to the letter include:

  • Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)
  • Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
  • Roy Blunt (R-MO)
  • John Boozman (R-AR)
  • Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
  • Richard Burr (R-NC)
  • Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)
  • Bob Casey, Jr. (D-PA)
  • Bill Cassidy (R-LA)
  • Thad Cochran (R-MS)
  • Susan Collins (R-ME)
  • Tom Cotton (R-AR)
  • Mike Crapo (R-ID)
  • Steve Daines (R-MT)
  • Joe Donnelly (D-IN)
  • Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
  • Al Franken (D-MN)
  • Cory Gardner (R-CO)
  • Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
  • Johnny Isakson (R-GA)
  • Ron Johnson (R-WI)
  • Tim Kaine (D-VA)
  • Angus King (I-ME)
  • Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
  • Joe Manchin (D-WV)
  • Claire McCaskill (D-MO)
  • Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
  • Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)
  • Patty Murray (D-WA)
  • Bill Nelson (D-FL)
  • David A. Perdue (R-GA)
  • Rob Portman (R-OH)
  • Jim Risch (R-ID)
  • Tim Scott (R-SC)
  • Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
  • Jeanne Shaheen (D-MO)
  • Richard Shelby (R-AL)
  • Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
  • Jon Tester (D-MT)
  • John Thune (R-SD)
  • Thom Tillis (R-NC)
  • Pat Toomey (R-PA)
  • David Vitter (R-LA)
  • Mark Warner (D-VA)
  • Roger Wicker (R-MS)

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