Over 200 people and organizations joined The Northern Forest Center and Sustainable Northwest on our letter to President Obama and leaders of Congress to establish to craft and support national energy policies that promote woody biomass thermal energy markets.

The letter serves as part of an effort by the Center and Sustainable Northwest inOregon to establish a unified wood heat policy network between forested regions across the United States. Our goal is to connect community wood heat advocates to advance regional and national energy policies that accelerate development of woody biomass thermal energy markets.

Woody biomass is a commercially available, cost-effective, and renewable source of thermal energy that provides diverse economic, social, and environmental benefits. Increasing the use of efficient wood heat can reduce America’s dependency on fossil fuels, save money on heating costs, create local jobs, and support forest restoration and landscape health.

The wood heat market has grown significantly in recent years. However, this work has been largely industry-led, regionally-based and not well organized. The lack of coordinated advocacy, especially at the federal level, has hampered systemic national change and limited the expansion of wood heat use in communities across the country.

The sign on letter asks our government to ensure that woody biomass heat receives the same policy incentives as other renewable energy sources and advocates for new and continued funding for the Woody Biomass Utilization Grant Program, Community Wood Energy Program, and other sources of support.