SEARCH BLOG: ENERGY
The other day I was reading the September 21 issue [yes, the pre-dating is getting little out of hand] of Forbes. The story was titled Dead-Tree Hugger. No, it's the tree that's dead, not the hugger.
It's all about this guy, Mark Mathis, who saw an opportunity in disaster and turned it into a thriving company. The disaster is the kill-off of the western pines by the Dendroctonus ponderosae ... bark beetle to the less esoterically educated.
Images from U.S. Forest Service.
Long story short... he determined that with 7-8 million acres of dead trees out west, there was a reasonably adequate supply of raw material for a wood pellet company... each million acres being equivalent to 100 million barrels of oil! Add in another 25+ million acres of trees from Canada and you've got quite a bonfire.
Of course, since his factory is in Colorado and the largest portion of the dead trees are elsewhere, once he uses up the local sources he will start incurring a lot of transportation costs. Now here is where the government comes in....
- Until Jan 1, 2011 you can get a tax credit of 40% up to a maximum of $1,500 on the purchase of a wood pellet stove.
- The climate change bill that came out of the House in June exempts biomass culled from Federal lands from carbon emissions allowances.
- 80% of the land that contains those dead trees is off-limits because it is designated wilderness... with logging allowed on the rest if you live long enough to get a permit.
Can't you just hear the greenies and the government bureaucrats chanting, "Another one bites the [saw] dust." Yeah, and wait until all of those dead trees lying around the wilderness areas burst into massive forest fires. Try capping the emissions on those babies!
Read the online version here.