BASS APPLAUDES PRESIDENT BUSH FOR SUPPORTING WOOD-TO-ENERGY INITI ATIVES IN THE STATE OF THE UNION

From the Office Of Congressman Charlie Bass

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Representative Charles Bass (R-NH02) enthusiastically endorsed and applauded the commitment by President Bush to fund wood energy research as a critical component of our national Advanced Energy Initiative.

"President Bush's commitment to alternative energy sources, and wood-based energy in particular, beckons a new day for New Hampshire's economy and all of the nation's energy users," said Bass. "Breakthroughs in technology and chemistry may soon allow us to drive our automobiles on fuels refined from our forests. We can already heat our homes and power our cities with mechanically-refined wood products, as many Granite Staters have discovered this year."

Bass is Congress' most ardent supporter of wood energy research and commercialization. As a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and a conferee on the final version of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, Bass was successful in amending the ethanol program that had previously been focused solely on corn and other agricultural crops. His amendment made all support and incentives for ethanol now applicable to hemicellulosic matter, which is the cellular building block of the nation's forests. Recent technological advances have made the extraction of sugar compounds from wood and wood residue for refinement into ethanol both cost-effective and competitive.

The Second District Republican was also successful in passing an amendment that created a rebate program for consumers who purchase and install renewable energy systems in their homes. This rebate equals up to 25 percent of the total purchase and installation costs up to $3,000. Small-scale renewable systems, such as biomass-based products and solar technologies, have seen dramatic growth in usage over the past year. In addition to offsetting some of our significant reliance on petroleum, even a small shift toward their use would reduce harmful pollutants from entering into our air and water, and would lead to lower energy costs for all consumers.

"I am pleased that the President has joined my call for a massive investment in these technologies, and I look forward to his assistance in advancing one of my long-time priorities," concluded Bass.