Subsidies create biomess

Federal efforts to improve the biomass industries could hurt Oregon’s wood-product plants.

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As the federal government boosts subsidies to improve the biomass industries, Oregon’s wood-product plants could take a hit.

The biomass industry aims to turn leftover parts of forests into renewable energy, but draws its supplies from the same sources as wood plants.

“There’s already a lot of competition,” said David Leding, a Flakeboard plant manager in Albany. “And now all of a sudden, we have to compete with our federal government.”

As Congress moves to kickstart the biomass market — the burning of waste wood to generate electricity — its incentives and subsidies stand to make winners and losers out of players within the same industry. So far, its attempts have not been entirely successful, leading to unintended consequences.

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