WASHINGTON, March 21, 2012 - Leaders from more than 20 bioenergy stakeholder groups are briefing congressional leaders and staff today on the critical role that bio-based products for fuels and power must play in a diversity national energy strategy.

The group held a briefing on Capitol Hill this morning, then breaking up into small groups to make offices visits with congressional leaders and staff. The group of leaders from the biofuels, biopower and bioproducts industries, as well as agriculture and other related industry interests, are highlighting a “wide range of issues facing bioenergy, while detailing the opportunities that bio-based energy solutions provide,” according to a release.

“When Americans are feeling it at the pump, we must continue to urge the Congress to include biomass as a core component of a forward-looking energy policy,” said Michael McAdams, president of the Advanced Biofuels Association. “For the advanced biofuel industry, it can be a significant feedstock for the use in a number of innovating technology platforms leading to significant gallon production.”

McAdams said the “federal government (must) continue to support this industry in its infancy. From crops, trees, and refuse to the variety of energy outputs, biomass is a clean and important opportunity for America’s future growing energy demand.”

Liam Leightley, chairman of the Southeast Agriculture and Forestry Energy Resource Alliance (SAFER) said his group’s mission is “to enable the South take full advantage of the economic opportunities of bioenergy. The South’s research institutions, natural resources, and business climate all provide a winning opportunity for the development of bioenergy jobs and businesses across the region.”

"Biomass must be an essential element of any 'all-of-the-above' energy policy,” said Gary Melow, state policy coordinator for the Biomass Power Association. “Right now, we supply half of the nation's renewable energy and we are adding jobs in Gainesville, Florida; Berlin, New Hampshire and many points in between.”

Melow said “the biomass industry supports the economy in rural America, the places hardest hit by economic uncertainty,” using materials “that would otherwise end up in landfills or contribute to forest fires.”

Isaac Panzarella, project coordinator at the North Carolina Solar Center at North Carolina State University, indicated that enabling federal policy and government investment are critical. “The progress in this area has shown that the most important thing is to keep making progress in bioenergy, with the awareness that the pace of development will quicken with every proven advance in process or technology,” he said. While there are many potential bioenergy opportunities that require further planning and infrastructure development, he added, “there are also many current bioenergy practices applied in agriculture, industry and transportation today that offer financially viable clean and domestic energy solutions at high energy and economic efficiencies.”


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