Senator Collins Applauded for Support of Tax Incentives to Create Forest-Based Jobs and Fight Climate Change

Environmental Health Strategy Center
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A bipartisan effort to attract investment in climate-friendly, biobased manufacturing jobs, The Renewable Chemicals Act of 2017, was introduced late yesterday in the U.S. Senate, sponsored by Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and co-sponsored by Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) and others.

The legislation, if it passes, will create a production tax credit or an investment tax credit for the manufacture of biobased chemicals using renewable resources from the forest, farm or sea as raw materials rather than climate-changing oil or gas. Such biobased chemicals can be used as ingredients for textiles, plastics, adhesives, paints and coatings, sealants, building materials, and numerous consumer products.

Mike Belliveau, Executive Director of the Environmental Health Strategy Center, which has promoted biobased manufacturing in Maine as a sustainable economic development strategy, issued the following statement:

"We thank Senator Collins for her policy leadership to attract investment in Maine to create new jobs and revitalize our forest-based economy. New technologies are coming online to convert low-grade forest resources into high-value biobased chemicals, bioplastics and advanced biomaterials. Global demand for renewable chemicals is rapidly rising because their production displaces fossil petroleum carbon and reduced greenhouse gas emissions across the product lifecycle.

Maine has a huge opportunity to create good biobased manufacturing jobs that leverage the state’s assets: abundant sustainably harvested forest resources, ample industrial infrastructure, world-class research at the University of Maine, and a hardworking but underemployed workforce.

The Renewable Chemicals Act of 2017 is exactly the kind of public policy that can help the emerging biobased industry compete successfully against heavily subsidized petrochemicals. We urge Congress to enact this legislation to help Maine overcome the twin threats of good job loss and a changing climate."

The Environmental Health Strategy Center is working closely with the Biobased Maine trade association and the University of Maine to advance biobased manufacturing in Maine.

We know the biobased opportunity for Maine is real, because the former Old Town Fuel & Fiber mill demonstrated that if could make high quality industrial sugars, nature’s chemical building blocks, from wood chips. Here’s another example of the commercial potential for biobased chemical production in Maine: A company called Biofine was recently successful in continuously producing a biobased chemical called levulinic acid from the cellulose in corrugated cardboard at its pilot plant in Old Town, Maine. With the right financial incentives, Biofine could invest in a commercial scale plant to make this building block chemical from Maine wood chips, as a next step. Such technologies could be commercialized in Maine more readily with the financial assistance provided by the Renewable Chemicals Act of 2017.

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The ​Environmental​ Health Strategy Center works for a world where all people are healthy and thriving in a fair and healthy economy. We protect public health by fighting for​ ​safe food and drinking water, toxic-free products, and good green manufacturing jobs.