When we had the story about the NASCAR legislation in Olympia, we made mention of biomass legislation state Sen. Brian Hatfield, D-Raymond, put forward this session. The first question from a commenter, Mr. Mikey, was this:
“Huh? Expanding biomass fuels? What does that mean?”
Actually, the bill would expand “what qualifies as biomass fuels.”
Today Senate Democrats dropped a press release to explain the bill and trumpet its success: The explanation follows:
Senate takes action to preserve jobs; renewable energy
Olympia – The Senate passed legislation today to increase competition and cost containment for several Washington State pulp mills and forest product manufacturers working to produce renewable energy.
What hangs in the balance, says supporters, are thousands of jobs.
Currently, pulp mills and other forest product manufacturers already utilize their byproducts to produce renewable energy via biomass. However, they remain constrained from counting this type of green energy production towards annual renewable energy requirements.
This results in clean energy being exported to other west-coast states, such as California, that already recognize the product as ‘renewable.’ Forced to import alternatives, some businesses have seen their cost of fuel rise by as much as 500%.
“Senate Bill 5575 may make the difference between success and failure for the few plants it applies to,” Said Senator Brian Hatfield, D-Raymond , sponsor of the proposal. “It affects seven centers across the state – all of which would be forced to reduce their workforce should the state continue to not recognize their production of renewable energy.”
“Without a fair playing ground, we set our rural economies up for disaster,” Said Hatfield. “To lose any of these plants would be devastating to not just the thousands directly employed, but also for entire local business communities that depend upon these plants as economic hubs. I look forward to working with the House on passing this critical bill.”
SB 5575 passed with a bi-partisan vote of 28-19 and now moves to the House of Representatives for further consideration.
The plants affected are:
· Longview Fibre: Cowlitz County
· Weyerhaeuser: Cowlitz County
· Kettle Falls: Stevens County
· SDS Lumber: Klickitat County
· Cosmos Specialty Fibers: Grays Harbor County
· Georgia-Pacific: Clark County
· Simpson Tacoma Kraft: Pierce County