WASHINGTON, DC, February 3, 2016 – The National Alliance of Forest Owners (NAFO) today applauded Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Angus King (I-ME) for their leadership on unanimous passage of an amendment to the Senate energy bill affirming the carbon benefits of forest biomass as an important part of the U.S. energy solution.

“Forest owners deeply appreciate the leadership of Senators Collins, Klobuchar and King to emphasize the carbon benefits of biomass energy as part of our nation’s renewable energy solution,” said Dave Tenny, NAFO President and CEO. “This amendment reflects the bipartisan support of 46 Senators who signed a June 2015 letter to the Administration affirming the carbon neutrality of forest biomass. It will help drive a consistent federal policy across all departments and agencies based on well-established science and agency expertise.”

Last night, the Senate adopted by voice vote the forest biomass carbon neutrality amendment to the energy bill which was accepted by Energy Committee Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-WA). The amendment directs the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Agriculture and Department of Energy to jointly establish clear and simple policies for the utilization of forest biomass, including:

  • Reflecting the carbon neutrality of forest bioenergy;
  • Recognizing biomass as a renewable energy source;
  • Encouraging private investment throughout the biomass supply chain, including working forests, harvesting operations, forest improvement operations, bioenergy, wood products and paper manufacturing;
  • Encouraging forest management to improve forest health; and
  • Recognizing state initiatives to use biomass.

The amendment was co-sponsored by a bipartisan group of Senators including Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Al Franken (D-MN), Steve Daines (R-MT), Jim Risch (R-ID) and Mike Crapo (R-ID).

“A clear and simple policy on biomass carbon benefits will encourage private investment, promote forest health and empower states to utilize biomass to reach their renewable energy goals,” Tenny said. “By passing this amendment, the Senate has demonstrated it supports this approach. It also shows strong alignment between Congress and forest owners.”

Climate science consistently and clearly documents the carbon benefits of forest biomass energy. U.S. government data shows that the volume of growing trees in the U.S has increased by 50% since 1953. Net growth in U.S. forests absorbs 13% of annual CO2 emissions.

The Senate is expected to vote on final passage of the energy bill later this week. The Senate and House will then seek to reconcile their respective bills.

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