From Roadmap To Biomass Study, Maine Forest Industry Forges Ahead

Sen. Susan Collins, Sen. Angus King and Rep. Bruce Poliquin are continuing their efforts to seek federal assistance to help Maine deal with the loss of jobs and markets in the forest industry. In response to the congressional delegation’s request for assistance and a preliminary tour of Maine in March, Secretary Penny Pritzker of the […]

Sen. Susan Collins, Sen. Angus King and Rep. Bruce Poliquin are continuing their efforts to seek federal assistance to help Maine deal with the loss of jobs and markets in the forest industry. In response to the congressional delegation’s request for assistance and a preliminary tour of Maine in March, Secretary Penny Pritzker of the U.S. Department of Commerce agreed to establish an integrated, multi-agency Economic Development Assessment Team (EDAT) to focus on Maine’s forest-based economy. At news conference Friday, some details emerged about what forms that assistance will take.

The outcome hoped for includes funding for new wood products research at the University of Maine and support for the Vision and Roadmap project being worked on with the School of Forest Resources team.

Additionally, there may be opportunities to enhance recent federal grants for railroad upgrades (U.S. Department of Transportation), increased forest stewardship funding (U.S. Forest Service), grants for biomass energy projects (combined heat and power, U.S. Department of Energy). We’re working to better understand these opportunities through discussions with various government agencies.

Steve Schley of Pingree Associates, who serves on MFPC’s Executive Committee, has been working with the congressional staff and the Maine Development Foundation to outline concerns and organize a three-day tour of Maine, August 17-19, which would touch on the various issues of concern to our industry. We’ve included input from Professional Logging Contractors of Maine (PLC), Small Woodland Owners Association (SWOAM) and the Maine Pulp and Paper Association (MPPA).

From the Maine Forest Products Council: http://maineforest.org/9686-2/

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