Montana’s F.H. Stoltze Land & Lumber Celebrates Woody Biomass Co-Gen Plant

Chuck Roady beamed as he stood in front of the microphone last week in front of the F.H. Stoltze Land and Lumber’s new $22 million co-generation plant. The plant, which utilizes wood waste to heat the company’s mill, dry its wood and produce enough electricity for about 2,500 homes, was roaring behind him. “It’s a […]

Chuck Roady beamed as he stood in front of the microphone last week in front of the F.H. Stoltze Land and Lumber’s new $22 million co-generation plant. The plant, which utilizes wood waste to heat the company’s mill, dry its wood and produce enough electricity for about 2,500 homes, was roaring behind him.

“It’s a little loud, but we at Stoltze are darn glad, because it means its working,” Roady said. The plant’s been operational since late this summer, but a grand opening on Oct. 24 drew a host of local dignitaries to view the plant in full production mode, including Gov. Steve Bullock.

Bullock spoke briefly during the ceremony, saying the challenge ahead is to maintain a steady supply of timber for mills like Stoltze, which has been in business in the valley for more than 100 years. Roady agreed. “If we can just figure out a way to properly manage our national forests,” Roady told the crowd. “That’s a huge problem.”

Stoltze largely relies on state and private timber — including its own, to operate its dimension lumber mill in Columbia Falls. Roady said only about 15 to 20 percent of its timber comes from federal lands, despite being surrounded by national forests.

Montana Congressman Steve Daines recently sponsored a bill, the Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act, which would significantly boost the timber harvest across Montana, including the Flathead National Forest. The bill passed the House, but hasn’t been taken up the Senate.

From Hungry Horse News: http://www.flatheadnewsgroup.com/hungryhorsenews/article_82984abc-4180-11e3-bd9c-0019bb2963f4.html

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