Regulations Could Hamper Montana Biomass Project

Libby is the top choice for a company looking to build a $46 million plant that would use new technology to turn forest debris into 5 million gallons of liquid fuel per year, but there’s a catch. Federal regulations governing the tax credits that would make the operation economically feasible specifically exclude national forest lands […]

Libby is the top choice for a company looking to build a $46 million plant that would use new technology to turn forest debris into 5 million gallons of liquid fuel per year, but there’s a catch. Federal regulations governing the tax credits that would make the operation economically feasible specifically exclude national forest lands as a source of raw material.

Lincoln County Port Authority board members discussed the proposal from Colbert, Wash., based Bioenergy Fuels Inc. during a meeting last week. In recent emails to port authority representatives, BFI chief executive officer Ron Rebenitsch, who toured the port authority’s industrial park last month, identified Libby as the number one choice for the plant if the vital tax credit issue can be overcome.

Benefits to locating in Libby noted in documents provided by BFI include the availability of reasonably priced forest biomass, existing infrastructure, low electricity costs, a stable workforce, availability of financing incentives, and strong local support.

Port authority board chairman Jim Mayo introduced the proposal as “potentially good news.” “To keep this project moving I would like to see us have a point person to make sure we can do everything we can,” Mayo said.

Mayo pointed out that former port authority director Paul Rumelhart, who worked on previous biomass projects for the organization, has been in contact with BFI and toured the industrial park with Rebenitsch in March. He moved to hire Rumelhart to continue working on the project at a rate of $30 per hour for up to 30 hours per month for the next six months, and the board unanimously approved the motion.

From The Western News: http://www.thewesternnews.com/business/regulations-could-hamper-biomass-project/article_6a678258-ea8c-11e4-8c6f-aff486de719b.html

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