Representative Jim Thompson: Biomass bill proposed

Rep. Thompson Introduces Biomass Bill To Create Jobs In Rural Communities

SALEM”” Rep. Jim Thompson (R-Dallas) today testified before the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee to urge approval of HB 3608, his bill to provide incentives for the transportation and production of biomass. He said the bi-partisan bill will help create desperately-needed jobs for rural Oregonians. “There’s a real need for job creation and retention in our state, especially in rural areas,” Rep. Thompson said. “Approximately 4.25 million acres of Oregon forestland have the potential to profitably harvest woody biomass through thinning excess trees. By pursuing this course of action, we would not only create more jobs in the woods, but also increase forest health and help reduce the potential for wildfires.”

HB 3608 establishes a tax credit for the transportation of woody biomass from forests to biofuels producers, a tax credit for biomass electrical generation, and a tax credit for the purchase of equipment to collect or process waste materials. The bill also directs the Oregon Department of Energy to conduct a study of biomass facility sites in Oregon.

“In 2005 the Legislature established a state policy to support and encourage biomass energy,” Rep. Thompson said. “Our government has made a strong statement that it supports and wants to encourage the use of biomass. HB 3608 is the next step in fulfilling this goal.”

Rep. Thompson introduced a similar bill during the 2009 session. Despite bipartisan support, it wasn’t approved by the House Revenue Committee. With Oregon still in deep economic recession, he said it’s time for the Legislature to reconsider and pass this job-creation bill.

“HB 3608 is a great bill for job creation and a win-win for Oregon’s environment,” Rep. Thompson said. “It’s time to pass this bill and put rural Oregonians back to work.”