December 04, 2009

Wyden: Time to Bring Energy Policy in Line with 21st Century

Oregon Senator Calls for Greater Use of Biomass from Federal Forests

Seattle, WA - Recognizing that renewable, efficient energy is good for both job creation and improving forest health, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden today called for a change in energy policy that would open the doors for greater use of biomass from federal forests.

"It's also time to bring the rest of America's energy policies into line with our 21st Century economic and environmental needs," Wyden said in recorded remarks for the White House-sponsored Oregon-Washington Energy Forum in Seattle. "In fact, many of our laws have to be brought up to date if our country is going to replace fossil fuels with clean energy. Even our approach to renewable fuels is out of date and doesn't provide the right kinds of incentives to make sure that renewable energy truly becomes a major part of U.S. energy supplies."

As an example, Wyden cited the Federal tax code that gives biomass energy plants only half the amount of tax credit for the electricity they produce compared to wind farms. "I strongly support wind energy," he said, "but the tax code shouldn't be penalizing some renewable energy technologies, like biomass. Until these new energy sources get that kind of treatment, they won't develop to their potential."

Wyden has introduced the Renewable Energy Parity and Investment Act of 2009 to level the playing field for biomass.

"Oregon has long been known for its forests, but it's time to change the way those forests are managed," Wyden said. "It's time to focus on 21st Century challenges and restore forest health while using federal forests to sequester carbon and produce low-carbon energy."