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Forest Products Industry Welcomes Bush National Energy Strategy Report

Press release from the issuing company

WASHINGTON, DC –From its unique perspective as both a major energy user and the largest producer of self-generated electricity in the manufacturing sector, America's forest and paper industry welcomed the Bush Administration's Energy Task Force report as a long-needed blueprint for sustainable economic growth and environmental improvement. "We applaud the Administration for outlining a workable national energy strategy that assures access to a balanced mix of fuels, invests in the development of cleaner and more energy-efficient technologies, streamlines regulatory permitting processes for beneficial projects and encourages conservation," said American Forest & Paper Association President and CEO, W. Henson Moore, who served as deputy energy secretary during the first Bush Administration. "This is the comprehensive long-term plan we need to build a stable energy supply that is affordable and reliable for everyone." Mr. Moore noted that the forest products industry has already made enormous strides in energy conservation and environmental performance through the use of highly efficient cogeneration processes and renewable biomass fuels. For example, the forest products industry has reduced its average total energy usage per ton of paper produced by 30 percent and cut fossil fuel consumption by 53 percent. "The forest products industry far outpaces all other manufacturing industries by generating nearly 85 percent of the onsite electricity that comes from renewable resources, but that's just a glimpse of what we can achieve," Mr. Moore said. "Working with the U.S. Department of Energy, we are testing new biomass gasification technologies that could transform our industry into a major supplier of electricity to the national grid. Furthermore, we look forward to working with the Administration on comprehensive electricity restructuring that ensures competition" Many forest products facilities already produce power that could be made available to the grid, but lack access to suitable transmission facilities. This problem could be alleviated by the extensive infrastructure modernization and transmission line construction initiatives proposed in the Task Force report. According to Mr. Moore, the industry is particularly pleased with the Task Force's recommended study of the widely criticized New Source Review program (NSR) of the Clean Air Act. "With its expensive 18-month permitting process, NSR has a pernicious impact on our economy and our environment: It forces companies to continue using fuels that are high in price and short in supply while discouraging new investment in energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly technologies and processes," he said. As natural gas prices continue to spiral upward, forest products manufacturers desperately need the flexibility to substitute lower-cost alternative fuels - such as coal, biomass and shredded tires - to run their boilers. "The one-two punch of increased fuel prices combined with an economic downturn is wreaking havoc on the competitiveness of American pulp and paper producers," Mr. Moore explained. "American firms can't afford to be locked into a single high-cost fuel source when they are literally fighting for survival in a global market characterized by unregulated competitors and razor-thin profit margins."

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