Rural jobs and the environment may be protected under a bill adopted Saturday by the Washington State Senate. Senate Bill 5575 will alter some of the regulations of Initiative 937, adding new sources to the list of eligible biomass products, organic matter used to generate electricity with steam turbines. The bill will also reverse an I-937 rule and allow biomass facilities in operation before 1999 to qualify as eligible for renewable energy credits.
Sen. Hatfield: “This is the culmination of over five years of work and cooperation and work by those who recognize that the quest for renewable energy is as much about maintaining jobs in our state as it is about energy.”
Bill sponsor Senator Brian Hatfield says not allowing older biomass generators to be used toward renewable energy requirements would have been devastating for paper and timber mills in rural Washington would have been faced with possible closure at the expense of hundreds of family wage jobs. The bill will also allow organic by-products of pulping and wood products, or black liquor to count as a biomass fuel.