Cape Girardeau, MO. – U.S. Senator Kit Bond today visited Dent and Iron Counties in Southeast Missouri to meet with local officials about jump-starting a new clean-energy industry that will provide a critical source of jobs and clean energy for rural Missourians.

“While energy legislation is now stalled in Washington, I’m proud to see our state has taken steps towards moving our nation to a clean-energy future,” said Bond. “By creating a bioenergy industry in Missouri, we are not only helping create our clean-energy future, we are also creating much needed jobs and providing income to struggling farmers and agroforesters.”

While in Dent County, Bond met with local officials and representatives from the National Forest Service and the Missouri Forest Products Association about the potential of a new clean-energy industry in the region. Bond heard from these officials who are concerned that proposed regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) could kill Missouri’s biomass industry before it takes off. Sawmills and timber operations across Missouri send their scrap wood and sawdust byproducts to their own or neighboring power facilities to generate steam or electricity to power their operations. EPA proposes to limit the use of this cheap and clean fuel by classifying it as a solid waste subject to incineration regulations normally applied to hazardous chemicals. This clumsy federal action is the latest example of a bureaucracy out of touch with the needs of rural America and all too willing to impose cumbersome regulations that kill small business, cost jobs and hurt communities. Bond has criticized – and pledged to fight – the EPA’s proposed rule. If this rule goes forward, Missouri’s woody biomass industry would be crippled before it started and a plentiful clean energy source would be taken off the table.

While in Dent County, Bond also received an update on the Woody Biomass Technology Demonstration project. In fiscal year 2010, Bond secured $300,000 for the Center for Development of Woody Biomass at the Missouri Forest Foundation to fund the research needed to turn woody biomass into a renewable energy.

“Many times the ideas which Washington generates hinder the advancement of hardworking folks in the forest industry,” stated Steve Jarvis, Executive Director of the Missouri Forest Products Association. “Kit Bond has always understood the importance of the Missouri timber industry and that good management and seeking value-added opportunities through research are two key components to advance our industry, if we can keep burdensome federal regulations off small businesses backs.”

After leaving Dent County, Bond visited Iron County, where he toured local forestry areas that could be used in clean energy production in the form of biomass. The Senator pointed out that 14 million acres of forestland covers the State of Missouri, and these forests have the potential to provide up to 150 million tons of wood residues from scrub timber that can be used as biomass

“From biomass to biofuels it has long been my belief that Missouri can establish itself as the Saudi Arabia of renewable energy,” said Bond.

Source: Sen. Bond

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