SIMSBORO, LA — Flakeboard officials say a bill to create federal incentives for biomass fuel operations could double the cost of raw materials for its particleboard plant here.

According to The News Star, Flakeboard is concerned that the 2008 Farm Bill’s Biomass Crop Assistance Program could increase the plant’s cost for wood chips, shavings and sawdust by $10 million per year. It would potentially force the company to cease operations putting 125 employees at risk of losing their jobs.

Under the Biomass Crop Assistance Program, suppliers can receive dollar-for-dollar subsidies up to $45 per ton of wood chips and shavings if they sell the material to a biomass conversion facility that would use the wood for power production or create pellets to be burned in a boiler.

The Composite Panel Assn. estimates that 30,000 U.S. jobs at composite panel mills and another 350,000 jobs at companies that use the products to make furniture, cabinets, doors, flooring and mouldings could disappear if changes are not made to the program.

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