BTEC Urges Senate to Expand CWEIP

On August 17, BTEC, its members, and supporting organizations submitted a letter to Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, urging the Senate to expand the Community Wood Energy and Wood Innovations Program in the Farm Bill. The House expanded the program in its version of the Farm Bill, passed in July. The Farm is set to enter conference Committee in the coming weeks, which will result in a final Farm Bill. Read BTEC’s letter below and here >> 

Dear Chairman Roberts and Ranking Member Stabenow:

The Biomass Thermal Energy Council (BTEC) and its undersigned members respectfully ask the Senate to incorporate the House of Representatives’ Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 language for expansion of SEC. 8106 Community Wood Energy and Wood Innovations Program (CWEIP) in the final Farm Bill.  As conceived by the House, the CWEIP would be strengthened into a more robust competitive nationwide grant program administered by the USDA Forest Service, with a $25 million annual authorization, for community-scale wood energy and value-added forest products projects.

The use of wood for thermal energy from sustainably managed forest lands has numerous economic and environmental benefits, including local job creation and enhanced energy security in rural communities, reduction of GHG emissions from fossil fuels, and improved forest management, which reduces the risk of wildfires on public and private lands. Private forests support over 2.4 million rural jobs and provide over half of our nation’s wood supply. Unfortunately, these forests are facing increasing threats from insects, disease, wildfire, development pressures, and rapidly shifting markets. Private and public forests need new markets, especially for low grade or low quality wood.  Community scale heating, combined heat and power and district heating projects can help build strong local markets in support of responsible stewardship of these lands.  In the absence of new market innovation, these forest health issues put forests and the many benefits that Americans rely on from them at risk.  CWEIP was conceived to address this urgent need directly, while accomplishing many other benefits through the provision of renewable heat for public and private buildings, and support for innovative new uses of low grade wood.

Members of the Conference Committee are dedicated to building a well-rounded bill that marries the best features of each bill into a final Farm Bill.  Historically, the Farm Bill has been a hallmark of bipartisan cooperation.  CWEIP enjoys strong bipartisan support, and was enthusiastically embraced by the 80+ organizations that comprise the Forests in the Farm Bill Coalition.  BTEC is committed to working with the Committee to pass a final bill with bipartisan solutions that will enable final passage.  We feel strongly that inclusion of the House version of CWEIP will help to build this broad support.

Thank you for your consideration and dedication to the 2018 Farm Bill. We appreciate the challenges you faced as the Senate developed its Farm Bill, but urge the you to include the House language that improves and expands the Community Wood Energy and Wood Innovations Program in the final Farm Bill.


25x’25 Alliance, Brent Bailey, State Activities Coordinator
Alliance for Green Heat, John Ackerly, Executive Director
Alodyne, LLC, Christine Rogers, General Manager
American Forest Foundation
American Forests
Biomass Energy Resource Center at Vermont Energy Investment Corporation, Adam Sherman, Senior Consultant
Biomass Engineering & Equipment, Dane Floyd, President
Biomass Systems Supply, Dave Schmucker, President
Biomass Thermal Energy Council, Jeff Serfass, Executive Director
Caluwe, Inc., Marc Caluwe, CEO
Central Boiler, Dennis Brazier, President & CEO
Curran Renewable Energy, LLC, Kelli Ramsey, Marketing Manager
David Gardiner & Associates, David Gardiner, President
Ehrhart Energy, Bill Overbaugh, General Manager
Forest Energy Corporation, Rob Davis, President
Froling Energy, Mark Froling, President
Innovative Natural Resource Solutions LLC, Charles Levesque, President
Maine Pellet Fuels Association, William Bell, Executive Director
Messersmith Manufacturing, Inc., Jeremy Mortl, President
Mike Porter, Neodesha, KS
New Hampshire Sustainable Energy Association, Brianna Brand, Senior Program Director
New Hampshire Wood Energy Council, Brianna Brand, Senior Program Director
Northern Forest Center, Rob Riley, President
Pellet Fuels Institute, Don Wagner, Chairman; Tim Portz, Executive Director
R&R Beth LP, Petru Sangeorzan, Vice President
SUNY ESF., Tim Volk
Sustainable Northwest, Greg Block, President
The Center for Natural Capital, Mike Collins, Executive Director
The Watershed Center, Nick Goulette, Executive Director
TNT Ventures, Tony Morice, Managing Member
Uzelac Industries, Inc., Michael Uzelac, President & CEO
Viessmann Manufacturing Company (U.S.), Inc., Bede W. Wellford, Renewable and Sustainable Business Development Manager
Wilson Engineering Services, Dan Wilson, Vice President