Wyden, Merkley Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Promote Cleaner Transportation Fuel, Healthier Forests

Legislation allows the use of biomass waste from certain federal lands in the making of renewable fuels

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today introduced bipartisan legislation to allow the use of biomass from certain federal lands needing ecological restoration in the making of renewable fuels to promote healthier forests, more carbon sequestration, cleaner transportation fuels and strong protections for old growth forests.

Current law does not allow the use of federal biomass in the making of renewable fuels as defined by the Renewable Fuel Standard. Wyden and Merkley’s bill introduced today eliminates that exclusion and:

  • makes it financially feasible for private landowners to remove low-value brush that impact wildlife habitats and pose fire risks;

  • ensures that all mill residuals—like sawdust and shavings—can be used for biofuels;

  • helps pay for projects to reduce dead and dying trees that fuel catastrophic wildfires and to thin out unhealthy second-growth forests;

  • requires biomass materials harvested from federal lands to be done so in accordance with all federal laws, regulations, and land-use plans and designations; and

  • explicitly restricts the types of biomass materials that can be harvested from federal lands so that old growth trees and stands are protected.