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Governor Janet Mills Signs Renewable Products Tax Credit into Law, Establishing Maine as Climate Leader with Incentive to Create Good Green Jobs

Environmental Health Strategy Center and Biobased Maine
03.19.2020
Category:
News Releases

The competitive tax credit is projected to create or retain over 1,000 high-paying green jobs
manufacturing climate-friendly products over the next ten years

Maine business leaders, entrepreneurs, and environmental groups praised Governor Janet Mills for signing into law on Wednesday a tax credit that will create hundreds of good-paying jobs making climate-friendly products from renewable resources—so-called “biobased” products—here in Maine. Supporters were also grateful for Maine lawmakers’ leadership in passing this important legislation amid the state's critical response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This new law gives Maine a head start in the global race to slash the carbon footprint of everyday products,” said Mike Belliveau, executive director of the Environmental Health Strategy Center. “It will attract investment to convert plants to products. Maine woodchips and sawdust will replace climate-killing oil and gas to produce the renewable ingredients demanded by the emerging biobased economy.”

LD 1698, championed by Assistant Majority Leader Ryan Fectau (D-Biddeford), is a production tax credit to incentivize the manufacture of renewable chemicals and advanced biofuels from the sustainable resources of forest, farm and sea. Investment attracted by this tax credit is projected to create or retain over 1,000 good-paying manufacturing jobs in the forest sector alone over the next ten years, according to an analysis by Biobased Maine, a trade group advancing the biobased industry in Maine.

"We're excited to see Maine's Governor sign this competitive tax credit for renewable chemicals and products into law,” said Jamie Chittum, board president of Biobased Maine. “This legislation will accelerate the growth of Maine's emerging biobased industry, which manufactures climate-friendly products from sustainably sourced Maine biomass, and will bring jobs and economic prosperity back to Maine's rural communities."

“The global economy of the 21st century has presented one of our most important heritage industries with new challenges and uncertainties,” said Assistant Majority Leader Fecteau, who co-sponsored LD 1698. “Mainers are resilient and resourceful. The communities hit hardest by a changing economy are looking to new opportunities—opportunities that have the potential to help us turn the corner and rebuild a more robust forest products industry. Among these opportunities, bio-based products made from Maine wood stands out as good for our economy, for rural communities, for the environment and for public health. LD 1698 becoming law will advance such innovation for years to come.”

Mike Cassata, co-founder of Biofine, a biobased company seeking to expand in Maine, said: "This tax credit will allow Biofine to scale up our technology to bring our renewable, CO2 negative, cellulose-based home heating oil and chemicals to market, creating good jobs for Maine citizens and helping to reduce the carbon footprint of Maine's economy.”

“People love to talk about putting Maine people first. But too often that’s all it is—just talk. With this law, we made sure that only businesses that hire Maine loggers and truckers would be eligible for this tax credit,” said Senate President Troy Jackson (D-Allagash), who co-sponsored the bill. “I’m not interested in giving a break to businesses that move jobs out-of-state and leave hardworking Mainers in the lurch. This law is about the state of Maine standing with hard-working Mainers and Maine businesses.”

With the signing of LD 1698, Maine became the third state in the country to enact a production tax credit for renewable chemicals, after Iowa and Minnesota, both of which promote corn to replace oil and gas. However, Maine’s tax credit is higher than those states at 8 cents per pound of renewable chemicals produced. And the climate benefit of Maine’s woody biomass as a raw material is up to three times greater than that from Midwestern corn.

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The Environmental Health Strategy Center works to create a world where all people are healthy and thriving, with equal access to safe food and drinking water, and products that are toxic-free and climate-friendly.

Biobased Maine is a mission-driven trade association working to advance the sustainable use of renewable biomass from forest, farm and sea.