Michaud Statement on House Passage of the American Clean Energy and Security Act
Today, Congressman Mike Michaud issued the following statement following House passage of H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009. A provision on biomass that Michaud advocated for was passed as a part of the bill's manager's amendment. Michaud spoke on the House floor and clarified legislative intent on another provision that he pushed that would benefit forest landowners.
"We cannot stand for more of the same failed policies of the last few decades, where prices go up, consumers suffer, and only big business benefits.
"Maine has been a leader in the promotion of clean energy. Along with other states, Maine created the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. The bill that the House passed today builds upon this initiative. It brings other areas of the country to where Maine already is, while at the same time promoting the development of clean, renewable sources of energy in Maine and nationwide.
"Most importantly, this bill will promote the research and development of clean energy that will help reinvigorate our economy with new technologies, new businesses and new jobs. And this will all be done in the United States, ultimately leading to more stable and affordable energy sources and jobs that cannot be outsourced.
"I was pleased that the House passed an amendment to the bill that I pushed. The amendment makes sure that biomass power producers, including Maine's pulp and paper facilities, will be recognized for their production of renewable energy. This could mean an expansion of this locally produced clean energy sector and the creation of new jobs. The more utilities rely on renewable power in the future, the more this source of energy will be in demand in the coming years. This will help put Maine and other similarly situated states in a good position to benefit from a clean energy transition.
"Each year, U.S. forests and forest products capture and store 10 percent of all U.S. carbon emissions - a critical contribution toward mitigating climate change. More than 250,000 Maine families and individuals are small forest landowners and they collectively own more than 6.2 million acres, the largest share of our state's forests. Many of these landowners engage in sustainable forestry practices that not only keep our forests healthy, but contribute to reductions in greenhouse gases.
"Under this bill, sustainable agricultural practices and projects will be eligible for credits, which companies who pollute will need to purchase to offset their emissions. I was pleased that during a colloquy on the House floor that I was able to work with congressional leaders to clarify that these practices will include sustainable forestry. Because of this, the congressional intent is clear that Maine's small forest landowners will be part of our clean energy future.
"The United States can't afford to fall behind other countries. Right now in the state of Maine, we are conducting groundbreaking research and working on tidal energy and wind power. And we're making serious strides towards massive offshore wind power development. This legislation will help us get there by promoting the incentives to move our country forward towards a clean energy future."