[Forest_Biomass] Forest Biomass in the News 2-22-2011

WEEKS Kevin kevin.weeks at state.or.us
Fri Feb 25 10:12:30 PST 2011

These news articles about forest biomass appeared recently in Pacific NW news sources:

Biomass plays part in sustainable forestry<http://www.newspaperclips.com/npcapp/bounce.aspx/mynewsclips/19958/22/cm5pY2hvbHNAb2RmLnN0YXRlLm9yLnVz/522153603>
(Coos Bay World (c) 02/24/2011)
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Indexed Feb 24 2011 5:07PM (Article ID 522153603)
nge current habits requires enlightened management. Gov. John Kitzhaber wants the Legislature to renew tax credits for the fledgling biomass industry. Lawmakers should do so. The U.S. forest Service, which owns most of Oregon's timberlands, must persevere in forest restoration projects that produce enough biomass to make harvesting it worthwhile. Those old bulls of

Kitzhaber names natural resources adviser<http://www.newspaperclips.com/npcapp/bounce.aspx/mynewsclips/19958/77/cm5pY2hvbHNAb2RmLnN0YXRlLm9yLnVz/522153738>
(Business Journal of Portland (c) 02/24/2011)
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Indexed Feb 24 2011 5:07PM (Article ID 522153738)
Gov. John Kitzhaber continued his string of appointments on Thursday, naming Richard Whitman as his interim natural resources adviser. Whitman is currently director of the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development. He previously directed the natural resources Section of the Oregon Department

An opportunity to break the gridlock in our forests<http://www.newspaperclips.com/npcapp/bounce.aspx/mynewsclips/19958/12/cm5pY2hvbHNAb2RmLnN0YXRlLm9yLnVz/521709050>
(Oregonian (c) 02/23/2011)
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Indexed Feb 23 2011 7:31PM (Article ID 521709050)
fire. The economic, environmental and social benefits we derive from our forests are being severely degraded as a consequence. Over the last two decades we've made little progress in addressing our forest health crisis. False starts and unmet promises from Democratic and Republican administrations, a maze of regulations and unscientific restrictions, time-consuming lawsuits, and distrust between

EPA eases rules for biomass boilers
Newly built John Day facility among those likely to benefit from changes
By Ed Merriman / The Bulletin, February 24. 2011

Efforts to reduce domestic dependence on foreign oil advanced Monday under Environmental Protection Agency rule changes easing restrictions on operating biomass boilers that convert wood wastes from forest thinning projects, agricultural wastes and other biomass materials into renewable energy, according to government officials.

The changes modify EPA boiler emission standards proposed by the agency in June that were so strict they appeared to doom biomass plants across the country, including one just completed in John Day with $4 million in federal stimulus funds.

Biomass proponents and members of Oregon's congressional delegation argued that the rules wrongly lumped biomass boilers that emit nontoxic emissions with large coal-burning boilers that emit hazardous pollutants and threatened to kill Oregon's fledgling biomass industry before it got off the ground.

"Forest product wastes, such as trimmings from door and window plants, would be considered biomass and not solid waste, and therefore would not be forced to meet the more stringent incinerator standards for solid waste-burning units," Tom Towsley, Oregon director of communications for U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said Wednesday.

"Biomass plants would not be required to control for mercury or other pollutants not normally present."

Towsley said the rule changes announced Monday would allow biomass to be burned in a variety of boilers, such as the one in the plant completed in December in John Day by Prineville-based Ochoco Lumber Co. That would allow the plant to operate and produce energy.

Under the rule changes, small residential and commercial biomass boilers that generate heat or energy for homes, schools, businesses or government office buildings, airports and other similar uses "would essentially be allowed without requiring any additional pollution controls," Towsley said.

Larger units, such as the biomass plants built to generate energy from wood wastes at paper mills, "would still be required to have some additional pollution devices," Towsley said.

In a letter to Wyden dated Feb. 23, the EPA administrator, Lisa Jackson, said the rule changes reflect "a clear technical distinction between boilers that burn coal and boilers that burn biomass."

Jackson's letter says the rule changes provide "additional flexibility for existing biomass boilers" by increasing carbon monoxide limits for biomass boilers and other measures designed to reduce compliance costs, while maintaining restrictions on lead, hydrogen sulfide, mercury and other emissions that pose a danger to human health.

"Changes such as those listed above render the issued standards about half as costly to meet as the proposed (June rules) would have been. The issued standards nonetheless will protect enormous numbers of American adults and children from harm by reducing their exposure to air toxics such as mercury and lead, which have adverse effects on IQ, learning and memory," according to an excerpt from Jackson's letter.

The EPA estimates that even with the easing of rules governing biomass boilers, manufacturing and installing pollution-control equipment required under the new standards will create around 2,200 new jobs nationwide.

"I am proud of the work that the EPA has done to craft protective, sensible standards for controlling hazardous air pollution from boilers and process heaters," Jackson wrote. "The standards reflect what industry has told the agency about the practical reality of operating these units."

Because the revised rules are substantially different from those the public had an opportunity to comment on last year, Jackson said the EPA will seek comments "from members of the public who would like the agency to reconsider aspects of the standards that have changed significantly."

Towsley said existing plants will not have to comply with the rule for at least three years, "so if there are further changes in the rule, they will not be required to spend money for compliance measures for several years."

Ed Merriman can be reached at 541-617-7820 or emerriman at bendbulletin.com<mailto:emerriman at bendbulletin.com>.


Regional universities receive $20 million to study climate impacts on ag, forestry<http://www.nifa.usda.gov/newsroom/news/2011news/02181_climate_change_cap.html>

Ecology Dept (WA) releases Climate Comprehensive Plan<http://www.ecy.wa.gov/climatechange/2010CompPlan.htm> and Reducing GHG Emissions in WA State Gov't report<http://www.ecy.wa.gov/climatechange/WAleadership.htm>

Kevin Weeks

Public Information Officer

Oregon Department of Forestry

Agency Affairs Office

(503) 945-7427

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