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Timber Harvesting Safety

On November 21, Enviva LP announced that it had formed a partnership with ConocoPhillips to create a new company, ECo Biomass Technologies, to manufacture and bring to market torrefied wood pellets. Enviva, which already has a large presence in wood pellet production in the U.S. and Europe, notes that “although torrefaction is widely used in many industries, its adaptation to the renewable energy industry has yet to be proven cost-effective and scalable.”

In response to concerns expressed at FRA’s September 11 Board of Directors meeting about the growth of federal regulations impacting wood supply management at various levels throughout the chain, FRA examined the regulatory threats obstructing wood supply management the most and characterized each threat in plain terms, including its impact on the supply chain and its current status (whether the regulatory threat is in place or pending and how FRA and other organizations are confronting it).
Although September’s passage of a Continuing Resolution will keep federal highway programs funded through March 31, 2012, both House and Senate have indicated the will to complete work on a comprehensive Surface Transportation Reauthorization bill on an accelerated schedule, during November—partially because of a breakthrough in the impasse over funding, and partially because the rejection of the President’s “Jobs Act” has made a robust highway bill attractive in terms of job creation.
FRA member Jim Robbins, fourth-generation owner of Robbins Lumber in Searsmont, Maine, published a lengthy op-ed in the October 6 Bangor Daily News criticizing the assumptions behind, and practical effect of, the 70,000-acre National Park that former Burt’s Bees mogul Roxanne Quimby is proposing, as a means of disposing of a portion of her large investment in northern Maine woodlands.
On July 29, Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) introduced the Commercial Truck Safety Act (S 1450), co-sponsored by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota), which proposes a new remedy to the disjunction between state-approved truck weight tolerances and Interstate rules. Sen. Snowe’s bill proposes to give any state the right to petition the U.S. Department of Transportation to authorize a three-year “demonstration program” in that state that would enable a six-axle configuration weighing up to 100,000 pounds to access the Interstate system in that state.
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