CONCORD, N.H., June 1, 2017 — By a substantial bipartisan margin of 222-84, the New Hampshire House of Representatives today voted to support Senate Bill 129, which will give critical support to the state’s biomass energy industry and to the hundreds of jobs that industry supports. The bill, a version of which was already passed by the New Hampshire Senate in March, now returns to the Senate, where it will be reviewed. The Senate can agree with the changes, reject the changes and kill it, or seek a committee of conference where a compromise version would be approved. Once the Senate and House approve a final version of SB 129, it will be sent to Governor Sununu for his signature, veto, or the bill can become law without his signature.
“We’re extremely pleased that a large majority of House members from both sides of the aisle understand that SB 129 not only supports our state’s biomass plants, but also supports the entire forest products industry, which annually contributes $1.4 billion to the state’s economy and supports thousands of jobs directly and indirectly,” said Jasen Stock, executive director of the New Hampshire Timberland Owners Association. “The NHTOA thanks the leadership of both the House Republicans and House Democrats who worked long hours over the past several weeks to make today’s vote a success.”
SB 129 fixes a flaw in the N.H. Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) law, specifically the biomass renewable energy certificate (REC) pricing for the six independent biomass plants. By making the modifications, SB 129 assists in keeping these plants operating and supports the markets they provide for low-grade timber. These markets are crucial to sustainable forestry and the health of the entire forest-products industry.
An economic study of biomass energy in New Hampshire conducted by Plymouth State University that was released earlier this year found that the six independent biomass plants support 932 jobs and more than $250 million annually in economic activity to the State of New Hampshire.
“SB 129 is critical for the support of these plants that support sustainable forestry, provide jobs, provide tax revenue to our towns and the state, and are connected to one of the largest manufacturing sectors in the state – forest products,” stated Stock following the House vote.
The NHTOA is grateful for the support of SB 129 given by the House’s majority leadership, including Speaker of the House Shawn Jasper and Reps. Gene Chandler, Herb Richardson, and Michael Vose, and the House minority leadership, including Reps. Steve Shurtleff and Robert Backus.