House of Representatives to Vote on Pro-biomass Legislation This Week
The New Hampshire House of Representatives will vote this week on Senate Bill 365. The legislation will help the state's biomass power plants by requiring electric utilities to purchase power from the 6 independent biomass power plants in New Hampshire. As a private forestland owner, the Forest Society supports SB 365 because a healthy biomass industry helps private forest owners sustainably manage their forests. Maintaining markets for low-grade timber reinforces our ability to protect our state's iconic forest landscapes. Careful timber harvesting results in the creation of younger forests, thereby increasing the age and size class diversity of our landscape. It is also often used as a method of meeting other goals for management including the creation of wildlife habitats, maintenance of plant biodiversity, and promotion of recreational opportunities. As Jack Savage and Gabe Roxby suggest in recent articles (go HERE) the science behind the “wise use” of wood for energy is complicated, but wood energy is good for the forest, for the forest products industry, and for consumers of energy, clean water and clean air.
However, this proper stewardship of the land comes with a cost to the landowner. We believe SB 365 addresses this challenge by providing incentives for landowners to care for and maintain their lands. The resulting economic return helps ensure the biological richness of the state. While opponents of the bill claim it is nothing more than a subsidy for the biomass plants and will mean higher energy bills for consumers, they should study the important points Sen. Jeb Bradley and Sen. Jeff Woodburn, two key legislative supporters, raised in their recent op-ed. Read their op-ed HERE.
We encourage all who share these concerns to contact members of the New Hampshire House of Representatives to ask that they vote in favor of SB 365. It is also important to let Governor Sununu know of your support by calling (603) 271-2121 or by using the email form found HERE.