LEESBURG, VA — The Composite Panel Assn. (CPA) has filed comments seeking amendments to the proposed rule for the federal Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP). As it stands now, producers of sawdust, wood chips and other eligible materials would be paid a subsidy - up to $45 a ton - to be transported to an approved biomass conversion plant. The panel industry is lobbying for the rule to be changed so that those materials would not be eligible for the subsidy.

CPA’s comments include the following:

“The purpose of BCAP should be to expand domestic sources of biomass, not divert them away from productive, job sustaining American industries.

“CPA supports the underlying principles of BCAP, but continues to be concerned that the program will severely impact the availability of the basic raw materials our members use to make wood-based panel products as well as their cost. There is a robust market for these materials without unnecessary and price distorting BCAP subsidies to encourage their use as fuel. Subsidization would divert these materials away from our industry by making them altogether unavailable, or by substantially increasing the cost of our products and impacting the global competitiveness of American manufacturing industries. “

CPA’s recommendations for amending the BCAP include the following:

1. The rule should include a clear and definitive exemption for scraps, sawdust, chips and shavings generated from sawmills and other wood mill facilities.

2. The Eligible Material List should be included in the regulation with proper notation that mill byproducts are not covered.

3. Section 1450.103(b) should be clarified to restrict the discretion of the Agency to go beyond definitions in the Rule in compiling the Eligible Materials List.”

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