CPA cautions: USDA biomass program a threat to wood products industry
August 15, 2011 | 11:04 am CDT
LEESBURG, VA — The Composite Panel Assn. (CPA) has filed letters with U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), urging the prompt reconsideration of the Biomass Crop Assistance Program.

In a release sent by CPA, the association states, “The USDA’s Biomass Crop Assistance Program, while well intended, is being rushed though by its proponents without any consideration of its unintended consequences. BCAP will take wood out of the hands of an industry making important consumer and construction products and hand it over to the biomass fuel industry to burn. Worse, taxpayers will foot a bill for a $500 million subsidy to make this happen in 2010, with no net benefit to the U.S. economy or the environment.”

To “fix” BCAP, CPA recommends changing the list of raw materials eligible for federal subsidy. “BCAP’s inclusion of wood used for higher value products is contrary to the [2008 Farm Bill] directive and represents a fatal flaw in the way the program has been crafted. BCAP’s purpose was to incentivize the collection of unused and under-utilized wood and agriculture scraps resulting from farming and timber activities. Congress never intended that it divert materials currently used for the production of higher value products, particularly those that sequester carbon rather than releasing it through combustion.”

“The magnitude of the proposed 2010 BCAP subsidy is enough to wipe out the entire feedstock of U.S. composite panel manufacturers (estimated at $400 million in 2010) in one swift, misdirected federal intervention. This would undermine an important domestic industry and create havoc for its customers, the tens of thousands of manufacturers of wood-based finished products across the United States.”

Read CPA's letter to USDA
Read CPA's letter to OMB

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