Washington, D.C.- The forests of the Northwest have enormous potential to produce clean, green energy, according to experts who participated today in a field briefing of the House Science and Technology Committee's Energy and Environment Subcommittee led by Congressman Brian Baird (D-WA-03). Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR-02) and Congressman Jay Inslee (D-WA-01) also participated.
"One of the answers to our nation's energy problems could literally be in our own backyard," said Congressman Baird. "Our timber economy has been hit particularly hard by this recession. These technologies could help put thousands of people back to work, while generating clean, green energy that can power a 21st century economy, help end our addiction to foreign oil and combat global overheating."
Today, experts discussed how forest management planning can include the use of low-value materials from forests for energy production. Many of these technologies already exist, while others are still in the development stage. If properly utilized, these technologies could potentially make use of forest biomass that would otherwise be deemed unusable or low-value under current forest practices.
Instead of being discarded, these materials could be repurposed to create renewable energy that could power cars, heat thousands of homes or create new renewable materials that can replace petroleum based chemicals.
"Washington state is the perfect place for a field hearing on how smart, sustainable and balanced forestry practices can contribute to alternative, low-carbon energy solutions and stimulate the American economy," said Congressman Jay Inslee (D-WA-01).
This previously unusable forest biomass can be potentially dangerous if left alone, because it can build up, and eventually act as kindling for a catastrophic wildfire. With many parts of the Northwest experiencing double digit unemployment, experts agree that better forest management practices could not only produce renewable energy, but also provide better fire protection, and create thousands of jobs in these tough economic times.