House Passes Golden Amendment to Support Maine Loggers, Renewable Biomass Industry

September 25, 2020
Press Release
As Maine loggers grapple with low wood pulp prices and layoffs, Golden pushes House to include renewable biomass provision in new clean energy bill

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives passed an amendment to the Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act yesterday offered by Congressman Jared Golden (ME-02) to support Maine loggers and the biomass industry and promote Maine’s role in the renewable energy economy. 

Golden’s amendment would improve the way that biomass is inspected and permitted and ensure that federal funds directed at clean energy workforce development programs include the biomass industry. The amendment would make biomass systems that achieve high efficiency standards eligible for more streamlined permitting, allowing Maine loggers to sell waste products from logging and providing an additional means for the logging industry to earn revenue during COVID-19.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration determined that wood generated roughly one percent of the energy created by larger production facilities in the United States, and was responsible for just over two percent of energy consumed in the U.S in 2019. According to the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, “forest based” jobs bring both billions of dollars and more than 20,000 jobs to Maine.

“Mainers have been making high-quality pulp and paper for generations, and logging is a critical industry in our state,” Golden said. “But loggers have been among those hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic, and they need support. The amendment I introduced today would make it easier for these family businesses to expand markets for their products and continue to help the industry provide tens of thousands of good jobs to Mainers and billions of dollars to the Maine economy.”

Golden introduced the amendment as Maine loggers have continued to struggle with static prices, lower demand, and layoffs stemming from the April explosion at the Androscoggin Mill in Jay.

The provision garnered support from the Professional Logging Contractors (PLC) of Maine and Innovative Natural Resource Solutions, a Maine-based firm with expertise in renewable energy:

“A comprehensive renewable energy plan for our nation must include efficient wood energy production from combined heat and power systems to be successful. This will not only support rural communities dependent on the forest economy but also improve forest health by enabling proper forest thinning and management. Congressman Golden’s leadership on this issue is timely and appropriate given the current challenges for timber harvesters and the need to kickstart our economy with homegrown renewable energy.” 

— Dana Doran, Executive Director, Professional Logging Contractors of Maine

“Biomass combined heat and power can provide renewable energy for Maine institutions and manufacturers, while supporting the forest industry and the state’s rural economy. Congressman Golden’s leadership in promoting this efficient use of wood for energy will pay dividends for Maine and the nation.” — Eric Kingsley, Innovative Natural Resource Solutions LLC

Golden has repeatedly stood up for Maine loggers. Last March, to address the workforce needs of Maine loggers, he joined Senator Angus King (I-ME) to introduce a bipartisan, bicameral bill that would allow 16 and 17-year-old Mainers to participate in their family logging businesses. In July, he worked with Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) to sponsor another bipartisan, bicameral bill to provide COVID-19 aid to Maine loggers and logging truckers.