Wood fiber is the feedstock of composite panel products, and free market access to wood fiber is the chief public policy priority of the CPA.
CPA has consistently pressed for governmental policies in the US and Canada that expand energy alternatives and promote the use of renewable biomass without harming existing industries that already rely on the underlying wood fiber as their primary feedstock.
This feedstock, sometimes referred to as “higher value” wood fiber, makes possible millions of domestic jobs in the wood products, landscaping/nursery and other industries, as well as to the use of wood as a renewable, environmentally beneficial resource.
CPA believes federal and state alternative energy policies must be balanced against both economic (jobs) and environmental considerations. Specifically, government subsidies or other incentives should not be used to distort the free market, nor to jeopardize longstanding, vital industries and domestically-made consumer products.
CPA led the effective intervention against the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) in 2009. This hastily launched US government subsidy program was intended to give away hundreds of millions of dollars without rules to ensure that these monies would be spent to expand domestic energy opportunities by encouraging the recovery of heretofore unmerchantable raw material. Instead, BCAP immediately put millions of existing jobs at risk.
A combination of composite wood products, consumer products, landscaping/nursery and other industries persuaded Congress and the Obama Administration that BCAP needed to be halted, re-written and re-launched in more responsible manner, if at all. The Administration listened, and BCAP was re-issued in late 2009, though it remains controversial.
Wood Fiber Coalition
Today, the CPA-led Wood Fiber Coalition continues to intervene on Capitol Hill to ensure that domestic manufacturing and jobs priorities are sustained in any new energy legislation, BCAP-style program, or the reauthorization of the Farm Bill. The WFC believes that the definition of renewable biomass used in governmental policies must be intended to expand the domestic wood fiber base so it can be used as fuel OR for “higher value” uses such as manufacturing -- not to divert the existing raw material base with no net benefit to the economy or the environment. See WFC
The reauthorization of the Farm Bill represents the best opportunity for a comprehensive debate on biomass. Either the Farm Bill definition, or the definition of biomass in the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007, will likely serve as the baseline for any future federal energy standard.
Efforts to amend the definitions is of the highest priority to the Wood fiber Coalition members. See Congressional Research Service’s Comparison of Definitions in Legislation.
Canadian Future Bio-Pathway Project
The Future Bio‐pathways Project is one of the first and most exhaustive studies in the world to examine a wide range of options for renewal of the Canadian forest products industry. The first phase of the study, released in February 2010, examined the economic, social and environmental benefits of integrating these new bio-technologies within the traditional forest products industry and it considered how this approach will boost employment and strengthen Canada's economy and rural communities. The project involved more than 65 top Canadian experts in fields as diverse as bio‐technology, investment banking and carbon pricing. The project is led by the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC), with FPInnovations, Natural Resources Canada and scores of economic and scientific experts.
On the employment front the research shows that an integrated mill – one that produces wood, pulp or paper as well as bio‐energy and bio‐materials ‐ provides five times as many jobs as a stand‐alone bio‐operation. It also shows that the industry’s 270,000 jobs will be best sustained by following this integrated road to recovery. See FPAC