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Biomass Power Association Statement on National Climate Assessment Report

Washington, DC — May 6, 2014 —Biomass Power Association President and CEO Bob Cleaves issued the following statement today in response to the National Climate Assessment report released by the White House:

Today’s National Climate Assessment demonstrates a keen understanding of bioenergy’s role in combating climate change and a dramatic statement about the benefits of biomass power.

The report notes that, through the use of low-value wood from forest thinnings or other forestry management activities, energy from biomass will help reduce carbon emissions from fossil fuels while enhancing the ability of forests to serve as a carbon ‘sink’ – healthy forests capture more than 227 million tons of carbon per year.

The report emphasizes that ‘Forest biomass energy could be one component of an overall bioenergy strategy to reduce emissions of carbon from fossil fuel, while also improving water quality, and maintaining lands for timber production as an alternative to other socioeconomic option.

The report highlights the potential for bioenergy, noting that plant-based material contributes about 28% of America’s renewable energy supply. Bioenergy has the potential of displacing 30% of the Nation’s current U.S. petroleum consumption — forest growth substantially exceeds annual harvest for normal wood and paper products and much forest harvest residue is now underutilized.

Creating viable markets for this material will not only displace fossil fuels but provide the necessary incentives for the sustainable management of forests—a key strategy in actually fighting climate change.

The report states, ‘forest bioenergy will become viable if policy and economic energy valuations make it competitive with fossil fuels,’ and notes the support that bioenergy has received from state renewable energy policies.

“We look forward to working with the Administration to implement bioenergy policies that provide predictable and long term markets for biomass energy as we do our part to fight climate change.”

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Biomass Power Association represents the American biomass power sector. Our members use sustainably-sourced organic materials, such as residues and byproducts left over from forest harvests and farming, to create electricity and heat in 22 states. Biomass energy converts these low value materials to power and heat—enough for nearly 1 million homes and businesses, adding almost $1 billion to the nation’s economy, and sustaining rural economies by preserving working forests and farms.