The Union Staff

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June 22, 2009
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County looks at biomass

Federal lawmakers need to consider both public and private lands choked with flammable vegetation when defining biomass as part of a new energy act, said County Supervisor Hank Weston in a draft letter to 4th District Congressman Tom McClintock.

Biomass is vegetative matter such as brush and small trees that can be used to produce alternative energy if burned in a specialized plant.

At their Tuesday board meeting, supervisors will consider urging lawmakers to broaden a definition of biomass as part of the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009.

Renewable energy standards included in the draft legislation focus on forested lands and exempts public lands.

Such a limitation could make fueling a future biomass plant locally more difficult.

Up to 218,463 acres or 30 percent of the county's land mass is public and managed by agencies such as the Tahoe National Forest and Bureau of Land Management.

Building a biomass energy and fuel producing facility locally would add thousands of jobs and provide an immediate and sustainable economic stimulus to the region, Weston wrote in his letter.

Earlier this month at a meeting sponsored by the Economic Resource Council, two county supervisors met with representatives from the Tahoe National Forest, Calfire and other groups to discuss the feasibility of a local biomass plant.

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The Union Updated Jun 22, 2009 04:04PM Published Jun 22, 2009 03:57PM Copyright 2009 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.