Maine is home to the most skilled paper makers in the world. Our hard-working men and women manufacture paper products that make us proud and that we use every day.
Our paper makers are also some of the best stewards of the environment. They understand we require healthy forests to make the high-quality wood products we sell around the globe.
When trees are harvested to make paper, the branches and bark can be left behind to decompose or, they can be burned to generate energy to run the paper making machinery.
Instead of ending up in a landfill, this green, renewable energy fuels our economy and creates jobs.
The Sappi paper mill in Skowhegan, which employs 800 hard-working Mainers, burns this biomass to make some of the finest quality paper in the world.
Unfortunately, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is attacking this renewable energy process that powers our businesses and creates more jobs.
Mainers know that wet wood, branches, and grass emit a darker smoke when burned. However, the same carbon is being recycled through the environment. It’s just a slightly different color.
But, the EPA wants to impose stricter emission rules on companies that burn wet wood, branches, and bark, instead of dumping them into a landfill. That doesn’t make sense!
The EPA is trying to force our Skowhegan mill to spend millions of additional dollars on special smokestack equipment because wet biomass burns darker. The mill owners worked diligently with the regional EPA in Boston and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection to put in place a common sense emissions monitoring system that reflects the burning of biomass. Sadly, the EPA headquarters here in Washington rejected their sensible solution.
This is not fair, and this is not right.
Those 800 hard-working paper makers at the Sappi mill deserve an EPA that works for them, not against them.
I am pleased to see that my commonsense amendment was added to the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, as it will stop the EPA from reaching beyond some of the biomass emission rules already being enforced by the regional EPA offices and the state environmental authorities.
In Congress, I will continue to fight for our mills and businesses that are wrongfully and unfairly penalized by the EPA for using green, renewable fuels to generate energy.