March 18, 2011
By the end of this year it should be known if the Wenatchee and Okanogan National Forest has adequate resources to support a commercial biomass industry. That’s the message Forest Supervisor Becky Heath brought to the Chelan County Port District. Heath is part of a working group involving the Port, Chelan County and other stakeholders who’ve been studying the issue. Steve Hair reports . .
Heath provided Commissioners with an update on those continuing discussions. She says there are possible economic benefits for the Forest Service as well as communities who’s timber industries have closed down . .
Heath says from a forest and public health standpoint it would make more sense to recycle the biomass material for power generation than by the traditional method of prescribed burning. The question is, how do you entice private investment in such an enterprize . .
The other problem identified by Heath is determining if the Forest has an adequate supply of woody debris to support a biomass processing facility . . .
The results of the state forest survey should be released in Mid-October.