March 31, 2017

In this Week's Pellet Wire:

Government Affairs Update: House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Federal Energy Incentives

The House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing this week to explore the role of energy tax incentives and their effect on the energy marketplace. The hearing went largely as expected, with witnesses for the Republican majority asserting that tax incentives for renewable energy have skewed the market and are unnecessary, while those for the Democratic minority pointed out that fossil fuel subsidies have been entrenched the tax code for decades, making renewable incentives a necessary tool to make them competitive.

PFI was on hand at the hearing and had a Member of Congress submit a statement for the record on our behalf. The statement was modeled after what we have submitted in the past-advocating for the BTU Act as a means to help put biomass thermal on an equal footing with other competing renewable energy technologies that currently qualify for federal tax incentives. The Energy & Commerce Committee is not the panel that will be calling the shots on energy tax policy; Ways & Means holds the cards in this space. However, it was encouraging that the discussion has begun early in the 115th Congress. We have been talking with our BTU Act bill sponsors and are preparing for a mid-April introduction date.

Clean Power Plan Executive Order

On March 28, President Trump signed the Energy Independent Executive Order, which sets out a number of directives rolling back the Clean Power Plan and other Obama Administration policies. A snapshot of the EO’s contents is below:

  • Clean Power Plan: EPA is directed to “suspend, revise, or rescind” the CPP. The EPA Administrator is directed to inform the Attorney General of any steps he takes so that the Attorney General can inform the relevant courts and potentially seek a stay of the litigation.
  • New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for Power Plants: The EO directs EPA and DOJ to take similar actions with this rulemaking as with the Clean Power Plan. 
  • Proposed CPP Federal Rule and Model Trading Rules: EPA is directed to revise or withdraw this proposed rule.
  • Social Cost of Carbon (SCC): The Interagency Working Group on Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases (IWG), which previously was convened by the Council of Economic Advisers and the OMB Director, is disbanded. All of the primary SCC documents previously issued are withdrawn. To the extent future GHG reduction regulations are issued, benefits estimates will be calculated consistent with the peer-reviewed guidance contained in OMB Circular A-4 dated September 17, 2003. 
  • National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Guidance on Climate Change: The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) is directed to rescind the guidance, which has been cited by environmental groups seeking to block natural gas pipelines and a number of other projects. Removing the guidance should enable federal agencies to more quickly approve projects, since a category of analysis will no longer be needed.
  • Federal Land Coal Leasing Moratorium: The Secretary of the Interior will take steps to revise or withdraw the moratorium. In light of the reduced demand for coal, ending the moratorium is not expected to result in a significant increase in coal production on federal land.
  • Rules Regulating Oil and Gas Development: EPA and the Secretary of the Interior are to suspend, revise, or rescind the EPA NSPS for oil and gas development, a number of DOI regulations on hydraulic fracturing on federal and Indian lands, and other related rules. Like with the Clean Power Plan, for those rules that are the subject of litigation, the Attorney General is directed to inform the relevant courts and potentially seek a stay of the litigation.
  • Previous Executive Order 13653, Presidential Memoranda, and Executive Reports: The EO revokes a number of climate change related documents, including the Climate Action Plan and memoranda on climate change adaptation and climate change and national security.

Finally, the EO directs agency heads to “review all existing regulations, orders, guidance documents, policies, and any other similar agency actions that potentially burden the development or use of domestically produced energy resources, with particular attention to oil, natural gas, coal, and nuclear energy resources.” Within 45 days from the date of the order, the agencies must submit a plan to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the Vice President, the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy, the Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy, and the Chair of the CEQ on how they will carry out the review, and submit a draft final plan within 120 days, and submit a final plan within 180 days. OMB is then responsible for coordinating the recommended actions and the agencies are directed to begin whatever processes are necessary (e.g., rulemaking) to implement their recommendations.

Save the Date for PFI's Annual Conference - July 23-25 at the Stowe Mountain Lodge in Stowe, VT

It's not too early to start planning to attend the PFI Annual Conference, July 23-25 in Stowe, Vermont! Learn about key industry trends this summer while networking with fellow pellet fuels manufacturers, equipment manufacturers, industry experts and others.

We are currently developing the program, details of which will be available soon. Registration will be open soon for our annual event.

We'll be updating PFI's website and including items in the Pellet Wire as more information becomes available.

2017 PFI Sponsorship & Advertising Opportunities 

PFI invites you to become a 2017 sponsor! This year, we have developed a new, streamlined sponsorship program that will create multiple opportunities for your company in 2017. Your company will have great visibility at PFI events, on the PFI website, and in the PFI newsletter, amongst other benefits.

The 2017 Sponsorship packages include benefits such as:

  • PFI Annual Conference registrations
  • Breakfast & Biomass registrations
  • Company logo listed on the PFI website
  • 10x10 booth at the PFI Annual Conference
  • Weekly newsletter advertising
  • Website advertising
  • And more!

PFI's membership includes over 100 member companies, and our electronic newsletter is sent to over 3,500 people every week. Now is the time to become a sponsor of this organization. Visit our website to explore how you can become involved.

Follow and Connect With Us on Social Media!

We urge all PFI members to engage with us on social media. By joining PFI in being visible and active on social media, we can make our voices heard more loudly and by many more audiences.

Follow us on Twitter: @PelletFuel
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Have News to Share on Pellet Wire?

We'd love to feature your company's news in a future Pellet Wire! We want to be the first to know your company's recent developments to share them with the wider pellet fuels industry.

Please be in touch with Carrie Annand at [email protected] with information on your company's growth, job openings, promotions or other news. 

Join a PFI Committee

We welcome and encourage all interested PFI members to get involved in our committees. There are many opportunities to help steer the association. No matter where your expertise and interests lie, we have a committee that will suit you. Help us plan our next conference, shape our policy agenda, lead communications outreach or grow the PFI Standards Program. Visit PFI's website for more information.


Upcoming Industry Events 

July 23-25, 2017: PFI Annual Conference

Connect with PFI

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Fuel Availability

Are you a PFI member pellet manufacturer or distributor that has fuel available? Email [email protected] to have your listing updated or added to the PFI website.

Industry News

Addressing Biomass "Alternative Facts"
Biomass Magazine
Providing misleading, inaccurate, and sometimes outright fiction as facts could be called propaganda. With overtones of Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, the term "alternative facts" has recently been coined. Either way, it is biased and misleading information that is used to promote a point of view.

The recently released paper by the Chatham House is a study that contains many inaccurate statements about the use of wood for energy. Those statements are presented as facts, or as uncontested conclusions. This article will focus on the study's discussions that pertain to the sourcing of raw materials for industrial wood pellets.

Read the Full Article

Bioenerg Bonanza Supports Rural Jobs, Minimizes Wildfires

What if there was an endless fuel source that came from widely available natural waste products? And what if converting these products to energy supported tens of thousands of rural jobs?

Wood can be just that fuel. In many places, it already is.

The U.S. Forest Service is working to expand renewable wood energy markets by providing technical assistance and grants to public and private sector partners through its Woody Biomass Utilization program. By supporting efforts to reuse the excess wood from forest thinnings, urban tree trimmings, and forest products manufacturing facilities as well as trees killed by fires, insects, disease, and hurricanes, the agency seeks to increase the amount of locally-produced energy while improving forest health and resilience.

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Mohegan, BBQ Master to Roll Out Line of Barbecue Pellets
The Day, Connecticut

Mohegan - Where there's smoke, there might be barbecue. And, increasingly, it might have a southeastern Connecticut flavor.
The Mohegan Holding Co., the Mohegan Tribe's nongaming business arm, has announced it will partner with celebrity chef Myron Mixon, by many accounts "the winningest man in competitive BBQ," to produce a branded line of wood pellets for barbecue pits and grills.

Read the Full Article


Pellet Fuels Institute |  [email protected]   | 206.209.5277