Implementation of the Healthy Forest Initiative (HFI) and its legislative authority, the Healthy Forest Restoration Act (HFRA), will clearly produce a substantial volume of sub-merchantable material with little commercial value other than biomass fuel. Currently, there is a limited market for such material. If efforts to restore forest health are to be successful, a market must be developed for such material.
WHEREAS, unnaturally large quantities of forest fuels resulting from a century of fire suppression currently clog millions of acres of western forests. A critical component of forest health restoration objectives is to reduce the level of such fuels to a level that approximates a natural stand, and
WHEREAS, much of the fuel in need of removal and placing our forests in jeopardy of catastrophic wildfire has limited commercial value in today’s marketplace, and
WHEREAS, the northwest’s reliance on hydropower, and the uncertainties with its reliability caused by threatened fish runs, offers an opportunity to develop alternative energy sources that could utilize biomass fuels, and
WHEREAS, while the HFRA has very limited direction and authority for developing biomass utilization opportunities, the Department of Energy could embrace an intensive undertaking to create a sustainable market for such material.
NOW THEREFORE, LET IT BE RESOLVED, the Oregon Logging Conference and its members, urge Congress to authorize $25 million for each of the fiscal years 2004 through 2008 to establish a biomass commercial use grant program that extends assistance to facilities that use biomass as a raw material to produce energy.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the Oregon Logging Conference and its members, urge the Department of Energy to embark on an intensive and broad ranging examination of opportunities for developing markets for the large amount of biomass material that must be removed from western forests for the purpose of improving forest health,
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a system of electric co-generation facilities utilizing biomass fuels be considered to supplement the Columbia River hydro system.