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Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

SUPPORT SENATE BILL 603-FN: The Biomass and Forest Products Workers Assistance Act of 2020

Sponsored by Senators Feltes, Fuller Clark, Hennessey, and Cavanaugh

from Catherine M. Corkery, NH Chapter Chair of New Hampshire Sierra Club
catherine.corkery@sierraclub.org, c – 603-491-1929, o – 603-224-8222

AN ACT relative to financial assistance for biomass and forest product workers.

Summary:

This bill authorizes the Department of Employment Security to use up to $250,000 per year for skills training and job matching for employees in the biomass and related forest product industries who have been laid off or whose company has relocated, with the goal of assisting those workers with job opportunities in or near their communities of residence.

Statement in Support:

This legislation provides long overdue support for helping workers in New Hampshire’s collapsed biomass industry transition to new jobs. Efforts over the past few years to bail out the corporate owners of the six polluting, inefficient, and uneconomical wood-burning power plants with state-mandated rate-payer subsidies were misplaced and ultimately failed to withstand both a legal challenge and the Governor’s veto.

The New Hampshire Sierra Club and the Partnership for Policy Integrity strongly support SB603-FN for recognizing that the biomass workers and foresters in New Hampshire are suffering from the failing business models and inflexibility of the corporate owners. Further, SB603-FN will provide funds for retraining for new jobs and assisting in career placement, including clean energy jobs such as solar panel installation, weatherizing schools and homes, and helping to build the clean energy infrastructure of the future, not the past.

As we transition away from polluting energy such as biomass power plants toward a clean energy economy, it is imperative that we support the workers and their families who are impacted by the biomass plant closures. The principle of “just transition” is that a healthy economy and a clean environment can and should co-exist. The process for achieving this vision should be a fair one that should not cost workers or community residents their health, environment, jobs, or economic assets.

Our organizations strongly support passage of SB603 to help NH’s biomass and forest products workers transition to new jobs.

ORGANIZATIONS:
Founded in 2010, the Partnership for Policy Integrity (PFPI) uses science, legal action, and strategic communications to promote sound energy policy and to help citizens enact science-based policies that protect air, water, ecosystems, and the climate.  Our current work focuses on biomass energy. For more information, visit www.pfpi.net.

Laura Haight, U.S. Policy Director, Partnership for Policy Integrity, lhaight@pfpi.net, 518-949-1797

*** G.E.T. publisher’s note: G.E.T. supports biomass for heat only, not for generating electricity, and only if sourced sustainably and locally.  Read more at http://www.greenenergytimes.org/2019/11/15/the-biomass-controversy-are-there-options/

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