December 04, 2006

Grants from Healthy Forests Law Fund Oregon Biomass Projects

Wyden, Smith worked to fund projects using smaller diameter wood from forests

Washington, DC - The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) today announced more than $1 million in grants to fund forest projects in Oregon, thanks to a provision championed by U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) in the 2003 Healthy Forests Restoration Act. Section 201 of the law authorized $5 million annually until 2008 to improve research and processing of smaller-diameter wood from forests, to create commercial value from this woody debris for Oregon's forest-related businesses and communities. The grants announced today are the first awarded under the Healthy Forests law. "These biomass projects will boost economic fortunes, fire safety and environmental protection across Oregon's forests and forest communities," said Wyden. "Creating commercial value for smaller-diameter wood and woody debris helps Oregon businesses, aids in the completion of hazardous fuels reduction projects and focuses more attention on the environmental health of our state's precious natural resources." "Oregon's mills and timber towns should have an active role in protecting forests from wildfire," said Smith. "Nobody knows better than Oregonians the value of defending our natural treasures, and to realize economic opportunity while doing so is the best case scenario." Projects funded by the grants will help Oregon businesses and other entities create more commercially valuable products from small-diameter wood and woody debris harvested from forests, by expanding their ability to use all parts of wood and woody debris, by upgrading technology and equipment to process more such biomass, and by ensuring a steady supply of small wood and debris to businesses that wish to process it. The grants announced by the USFS today were as follows: - $250,000 to Wallowa Resources to expand their post and pole manufacturing facility. - $220,000 to the Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council to keep a steady supply of small-diameter wood and woody debris available from the USFS and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to partners including the Warm Springs Tribe and M&L Logging. The funds will also pay for independent monitoring to ensure that the project is carried out in an environmentally responsible manner. - $250,000 to Warm Springs Forest Products to upgrade machinery and technology. - $236,000 to M&L Enterprises. These funds will help the Deschutes County mill retool machinery to handle smaller-diameter wood and create additional commercially products from that biomass. - $220,000 to Dodge Logging. These funds will help the Boardman, Ore. mill retool its machinery to handle smaller-diameter wood and create additional commercially products from that biomass.