WaPo Raises Concerns About Biomass To Energy, Farm Bill Subsidies
Sawdust, Tacoma, 2004 Image credit:Chris Jordan, KopeikingGallery
Not that I love the 2008 farm bill in all it's porkish splendor. But, the Washington Post crying about the poor composite panel board makers paying more than they are used to because Farm Bill-subsidized biomass conversion plants are outbidding them for sawdust is just so...toolish sounding. Of course, the forest products industry is going to whine about any added demand for wood that might increase raw material costs. Tough luck: it's that or get all our fuel from countries that hate us. While we're focused on unintended consequences of biomass subsidies, how about reduced exposure to formaldehyde off-gassed from the resins used to hold that panel board together? FEMA/Katrina trailer dwellers...stand up and cheer for that farm bill!And what about the sustainability of existing forests? Can they withstand the added demand if harvest rates for pulp and lumber continue as they are? Doesn't even come up.
From Washington Post article, The unintended ripples from the biomass subsidy program
But as laudable as that goal sounds, it could end up causing more economic damage than good -- driving up the price of raw timber, undermining an industry that has long used sawdust and wood shavings to make affordable cabinetry, and highlighting the many challenges involved in decreasing the nation's dependence on oil by using organic materials to create biofuels.
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