In a bipartisan panel discussion addressing international and domestic issues and trends in the forest products industry last week, Rep. Bill Owens said biomass as a renewable fuel source can be a major contributor to the North Country economy.
“A successful forest products industry is vital to the North Country economy and depends on the long-term health of our forests as a resource,” said Owens. “Discussions at the event today made it clear that this industry continues to move forward as responsible stewards and economic partners.”
During the event, Owens spoke to the economic benefits and potential for job creation in forestry, the environmental benefits of forests and the use of biomass, and the importance of sustainable forestry in the national and international context. The overall emphasis of the event was on “Sustainable, Efficient and Responsible” forestry.
According to the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA), the forest products industry in New York State accounts for 28,097 total jobs providing more than $1.5 billion in annual payroll income and an estimated $169 million in state and local taxes. 16,672 of those jobs are in pulp and paper alone. According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the state’s 21st Congressional District contains 54 logging facilities and mills.
Among those is Curran Renewable Energy, based in Massena, which is capable of producing 100,000 tons of pellets each year. According to Biomass Magazine, Curran is also “the first biomass mill in the nation to receive Forest Stewardship Council chain-of-custody certification from the Rainforest Alliance's SmartWood program [which]… guarantees that wood used in Curran Renewable Energy's pellets comes from certified, responsibly managed forestlands and is tracked throughout the supply chain from the forest to the consumer.”
“With the unprecedented growth of biomass as a renewable fuel source and increasing interest in sustainable forestry management, this industry is laying the groundwork to create and sustain jobs and safeguard the economic and environmental health of our region over the long-term,” Owens added.