UM to Receive $1.4 Million for Energy & Forest Research

(U.S. Senate) – As part of his ongoing efforts to support Montana’s forest products industry and enhance U.S. energy security, Senator Jon Tester announced today that the University of Montana will receive $1.4 million in federal funding to conduct research into forest-based biofuel production.

“UM’s cutting edge research will strengthen Montana’s key industries,” Tester said, “This funding will help develop cleaner fuels, which will decrease our reliance on foreign oil and protect our Montana’s treasured outdoor places.”

The funding-awarded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI)-will specifically go towards identifying new ways to measure the various benefits of forest-based bioenergy.

“Through this grant, UM researchers will partner with the USFS Rocky Mountain Research Station and Northern Arizona University to improve the performance of biomass fuel use,” said Wayne Freimund, Dean of UM’s College of Forestry and Conservation. Research of this type demonstrates the forward thinking of our faculty and their appreciation of the role of wood resources in meeting our increasing fuel needs.”

The BRDI was authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, which Tester helped draft and fought hard to get passed. The bill’s other important provisions included permanent livestock disaster assistance, financial support for beginning farmers and ranchers, and $23 billion in taxpayer savings.

Tester also successfully championed the Energy Policy Modernization Act, which passed the Senate last month and includes provisions that incentivize the development of clean energy alternatives.