Senator Bond is concerned about regulation changes proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Bond says under the changes, the EPA would classify wood byproduct as a solid waste, putting it in the same class as hazardous chemicals when it comes to the rules about how it is disposed of.
Sawmills and timber operations across the state send their scrap wood and sawdust to places that incinerate them to generate steam or electricity. Bond says through “clumsy” action by the EPA, this would be subject to an emission cut.
“Many of the foresters I know use biomass in their production and one forester said that he spends $200,000 a year on biomass to fuel his operation. If he had to get alternative fuels, his cost would be $2 million and his operation would no longer be profitable,” Bond said.
Bond believes the policy change will cost Missourians jobs.
“Not only a lot of jobs lost but a tremendous amount of jobs that are going to be missed. I worked with universities, and we have the potential to bring much greater employment and economic activity to the forested areas, particularly in Southern Missouri,” Bond said.
Bond hopes to put pressure on the EPA to get this changed, and the comment period on these changes has been extended to August 23rd.
“We’re gonna be joining with our forest friends in Missouri to send a very strong letter in support of their position. I’m not always sure that these people listen, but we certainly need to talk to them about it,” Bond said.
He says this isn’t just an issue in Missouri.
“Every place that has potential for biomass, every place that is burning biomass now, could be put out of the game if these rules and regulations go forward. So I hope a lot of other areas will be weighing in along with Missouri,” Bond said.
A group of 63 members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to the EPA in June addressing similar concerns.