Cece Andrus: Developing Region’s Biomass Will Take Time and Transparency
A couple of months ago, the former Idaho Governor and Interior Secretary offered his take on increasing utilization of biomass for energy.
The assessment came in a major speech to a conference of U.S. Forest Service managers in Boise. While not a pessimistic assessment of biomass as a greater source of energy, the speech was a typically Andrus-like accounting of opportunities and challenges.
Andrus was particularly pointed in warning the foresters that meeting policy objectives for the National Forests, including increased energy production and encouraging local economic development, while still protecting the environment, will require a lot of transparency and many trade-offs.
The former four-term governor also challenged the forest managers to be clear about whether and how they are managing the public’s land based on the reality of climate change.
You can find the full speech here. Here is a key section:
“We do not like making trade-offs and we do not like having to choose. For years the Forest Service has been caught in this struggle. We continue to debate what exactly the purposes of the national forests are, and how we approach an agreement around that question.
“One Idahoan would tell you the national forests exist to produce wood fiber. Another would tell you they exist to provide hunting and fishing opportunities. Another would tell you the forests help drive the economy of the state, particularly rural communities. This Idahoan would tell you that there is a measure of truth in each of those answers.
“So what you do, and what policy makers must do, is find the delicate balance that creates an equilibrium and gives the American public the opportunity to have it all; an increase of energy from biomass, a stronger economy and the hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation we so enjoy in Idaho and the West.”