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Mr. KING. Mr. President, I rise today in support of energy innovation, energy independence, national security, and local economies.
The legislation I am introducing, the Biomass Thermal Utilization Act of 2013--known as the BTU Act--would give tax parity to biomass heating systems under sections 25d and 48 of the Internal Revenue Code and would help to encourage a very promising industry.
By adding biomass heating systems to the eligible renewable technologies for residential and commercial tax credits, we can help make clean, home-grown heating more cost effective for hard-working Americans.
By way of example, Maine has the highest home heating oil dependence of any State in the country--and nearly 80 cents of every $1 spent on heating oil goes out of State. Much of this money also leaves the country and goes to nations that are less than friendly with the U.S. Yet we have plenty of renewable heating sources here at home.
In Maine, wood pellet boilers are the most widely used biomass heating systems. Wood pellet boilers run on trees grown in the State, cut by local loggers, processed into pellets in local mills, then purchased and used to heat local homes. Nearly every single heating dollar stays within the local economy. This supports good-paying jobs, working, productive forests, and it helps move the country toward energy independence.
We are not talking about traditional woodstoves here. These are highly innovative, clean-burning systems that are simple to run. They can even be integrated with your smart phone so you can turn the heat up on your way home from work.
In addition, thermal biomass systems--particularly wood pellet boilers--have very small carbon footprints. New trees are planted to replace the trees processed into pellets. These new trees capture the carbon released by the pellets. Compared to fossil fuels, such as home heating oil, this yields an extremely small carbon footprint.
I am excited to offer this legislation and to be joined by Senator Collins.
This bill could greatly benefit any State with a strong forestry industry but also States with industries that turn agricultural waste and nonfood stock plants into thermal biomass fuels. I look forward to working with colleagues from around the country to level the playing field for the biomass industry.
Let us work together to keep our energy dollars here at home and create jobs in our backyard.
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