Pingree, Kuster Introduce Bill to Double Grant Funding Available to Forest Product & Wood Innovation Industries
US Representatives Say Current Funding of USFS Grants Not Enough to Support Industry Growth and Innovation
Washington, August 27, 2021
WASHINGTON, DC—U.S. Representatives Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) and Annie Kuster (D-New Hampshire) today introduced the bicameral Community Wood Facilities Assistance Act, legislation to bolster the United States Forest Service (USFS)’s popular Community Wood Energy and Wood Innovation Grant Program (CWEWIP), which is currently oversubscribed. The bill would double CWEWIP funds available each year, increase the maximum grant available to $5 million, and expand the federal share of project costs up to 50 percent. It would also modernize and increase the federal share of project costs for a second USFS grant program, the Wood Innovations Grant Program.
“Federal forest grant programs help to create quality jobs and support rural economies for the long haul, but these programs need to be updated to meet the changing needs of the industry and to support the forest products sector as part of the climate solution,” said Rep. Pingree, Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior & Environment. “Our bicameral Community Wood Facilities Assistance Act will ensure these grant programs can bolster this important heritage industry well into the future. This legislation will support dynamic infrastructure needs and new market opportunities so that those who want to hire and innovate in Maine’s forest product industry have the resources to do so.”
“Sustainable, responsible forestry is a backbone of New Hampshire’s economy, but in order for forestland to remain healthy forests, we need to have strong markets for our wood products,” said Rep. Kuster. “As a member of the House Agriculture Committee, I helped create the Community Wood Energy and Wood Innovations Grant Program to foster new markets and opportunities — and we’ve already seen it have an impact in our state. I’m proud to join Congresswoman Pingree to introduce the Community Wood Facilities Assistance Act, which will strengthen and expand this important grant program to create new job opportunities, spur more demand for forest products, and help ensure the long-term vitality of Granite State working forests.”
Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) have introduced bipartisan companion legislation in the U.S. Senate.
The Community Wood Facilities Assistance Act would: