Forest products industry workers applaud Senator Hatfield for protecting rural jobs and renewable energy
Washington State Governor Chris Gregoire has signed SB 5575, sponsored by Senator Hatfield, which helps preserve the jobs offered by the forest products industry. Organic by-products of the pulping process now qualify as renewable energy. In addition, the legislation changes the law to provide adequate recognition for biomass energy facilities as renewable, regardless of the date they were first constructed.
In 2006, an initiative passed which required electric utilities to use renewable resources from facilities in operation after 1999. The initiative language also excluded certain renewable resources, such as spent pulping liquors. If the nation is going to move toward energy independence in the future, it must use common sense in counting renewable energy produced from organic material in facilities that are capable of producing it. This legislation helps preserve the economic viability of the pulp and paper industry in southwestern Washington.
Mark Doumit, executive director of the Washington Forest Protection Association (WFPA) said, “We need to do everything we can to use our renewable natural resources efficiently, and not pick winners and losers along the way. If we want healthy working forests we must ensure that our rural resource lands remain economically profitable.” The WFPA represents nearly 4 million acres of private forest landowners.
American Forest & Paper Association president and CEO Donna Harman said, “Our industry is a leader in the use of renewable biomass fuel as part of our manufacturing processes which helps reduce greenhouse gases. We are pleased that our facilities will now be recognized as a contributor to renewable energy use in Washington.”