Baucus, Tester bill clarifies definition of biomass

Senators Say Consistency in the Law will Benefit Montana

(Washington, D.C.) – Montana’s U.S. Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester introduced bipartisan legislation to establish a broad, single definition for renewable biomass that is consistent with the definition established in the 2008 Farm Bill.

The senators’ proposed definition of biomass, which can be converted into energy, is available in the legislation online HERE.

The senators say their single working definition will reduce confusion among federal agencies and will help restore health to America’s forests while building a critical plank of America’s renewable energy economy.

“Montana is home to thousands of acres of red, dead trees killed by mountain pine beetles. These trees are virtually worthless under current law, serving as little more than kindling for wildfires,” Baucus said. “By agreeing upon one broad definition of renewable biomass, we can put those trees to good use, protect our forests, and boost economic development opportunities across the state.”

“Years of debate over the definition of renewable biomass has hurt our ability to create jobs keeping our forests healthy and our forest communities strong,” Tester said. “It’s time to work together and get on the same page so we can move forward in a healthy and productive way.”

The definition will be used for purposes of the Renewable Fuel Standard, a future Renewable Electricity Standard, and other statutes. Baucus and Tester chose the 2008 Farm Bill definition of Renewable Biomass as it will benefit Montana’s timber industry and protect America’s forests.

"Plum Creek applauds Senators Baucus, Tester and Crapo for their leadership.  This bill will ensure wood is on an even playing field with other renewable energy materials," Rick Holley, Plum Creek's President and Chief Executive Officer, said.  "It will clarify much of the confusion in the marketplace, and will provide a strong incentive for the use of wood in producing green energy."

The legislation was cosponsored by Sen. Mike Crapo, a Republican from Idaho.