1 July 22, 2008 The Honorable Nancy Pelosi Speaker by zly32307


									July 22, 2008

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi                The Honorable Steny Hoyer                 The Honorable John A. Boehner
Speaker of the House                      Majority Leader                           Minority Leader
U.S. House of Representatives             U.S. House of Representatives             U.S. House of Representatives
Office of the Speaker                     1705 Longworth House Office               1011 Longworth House Office
H-232, U.S. Capitol                       Building                                  Building
Washington, DC 20515                      Washington, DC 20515                      Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable John D. Dingell                                  The Honorable Joe Barton
Chairman                                                       Ranking Member
Committee on Energy and Commerce                               Committee on Energy and Commerce
U.S. House of Representatives                                  U. S. House of Representatives
2328 Rayburn House Office Building                             2109 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515                                           Washington, DC 20515

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Hoyer, Minority Leader Boehner, Chairman Dingell, and Ranking Member

Re: Renewable Biomass Definition in the RFS

In December of 2007, the President signed the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) into law.
Among a number of other energy measures, this law (PL 110-140) includes an increase in the national Renewable
Fuel Standard (RFS) mandating the production of 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels by 2022. This is a large
quantity of fuels and there is justifiable concern that production of renewable fuels does not result in adverse
environmental impacts. For this reason, the law includes a definition of “renewable biomass” intended to
incentivize the use of biomass feedstocks derived from sustainable sources.

The definition of ‘renewable biomass’ that was included in the final version law, however, does not address
sustainability, best management practices, or good stewardship of natural resources. What it does do is
exclude a wide selection of feedstocks based on ownership and broad classification of landscapes. The most
egregious exclusions are those related to woody biomass from forest landscapes. The definition allows for “planted
trees and tree residue from actively managed plantations” and “slash and pre-commercial thinning that are from
non-federal forestlands.” Federal forests are entirely excluded. The fundamental problem with this approach is
that it is divorced from objective, meaningful measures of sustainability. The definition includes residues from
private plantations regardless of how poorly they are managed and excludes materials from even the best-managed
federal forest. Many of these federal forests are in need of active management. Thinning, tree harvesting,
biomass extraction, and other silvicultural activities are effective means for accomplishing a wide variety of
objectives among a wide variety of forest types and stand conditions. Wildlife habitat, fire dynamics,
hydrology, and infestation dynamics are all affected by the decision to manage or not manage forest landscapes.
The appropriate management activities for a given forest landscape depend on management objectives (habitat,
hazardous fuel reduction, biodiversity, timber, etc.) and a number of inherently local site characteristics, such as
forest type, soil, stand structure, available water, etc. Forests are diverse ecosystems and good stewardship depends
on acknowledging that diversity and acting accordingly.
The undersigned are members of the forest science community; researchers and faculty from a number of
universities and research facilities. We would like to emphasize the following points:

    1) Forestry legislation should be based on sound science and the input of forest scientists and researchers
       should be considered alongside that of other stakeholders.

    2) Forests are diverse systems and good forestry legislation will allow for management decisions to be made
       at stand and landscape level, based on ecologically-meaningful criteria.

    3) Safeguards included in the RFS should be based on objective measures of sustainability that are determined
       at the stand level based on forest type, site characteristics, and management objectives. To this end, a
       management plan is an essential tool for envisioning and moving towards the desired future condition of
       the forest. The RFS has great potential to incentivize extraction of low-quality material in those forests
       where this activity is desired for hazardous fuel reduction, habitat improvement, management for
       biodiversity, and other objectives. The RFS should facilitate, not be a barrier to, these stand improvement


                                                              Chadwick D. Oliver, PhD.
David Wm. Smith, PhD.                                         Pinchot Professor of Forestry and Environmental
Shelton H. Short, Jr. Emeritus Professor of Forestry          Studies
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University           Director, Global Institute of Sustainable Forestry
                                                              Yale University
Past-President, Society of American Foresters

James N. Long, PhD.
Professor of Silviculture and Forest Ecology                  Kevin L. O’Hara, PhD.
Utah State University, Logan                                  Professor of Silviculture
                                                              University of California, Berkeley


House Committee on Agriculture:
The Honorable Colin Peterson, Chair          The Honorable Nicholas V. Lampson
The Honorable Bob Goodlatte, Ranking         The Honorable Joe Donnelly
Member                                       The Honorable Timothy Mahoney
The Honorable Tim Holden, Vice Chair         The Honorable Travis Childers
The Honorable Mike McIntyre                  The Honorable Terry Everett
The Honorable Bob Etheridge                  The Honorable Frank D. Lucas
The Honorable Leonard L. Boswell             The Honorable Jerry Moran
The Honorable Joe Baca                       The Honorable Robin Hayes
The Honorable Dennis Cardoza                 The Honorable Timothy V. Johnson
The Honorable David Scott                    The Honorable Sam Graves
The Honorable Jim Marshall                   The Honorable Michael D. Rogers
The Honorable Stephanie Herseth Sandlin      The Honorable Steve King
The Honorable Henry Cuellar                  The Honorable Marilyn Musgrave
The Honorable Jim Costa                      The Honorable Randy Neugebauer
The Honorable John T. Salazar                The Honorable Charles W. Boustany, Jr.
The Honorable Brad Ellsworth                 The Honorable John R. Kuhl
The Honorable Nancy Boyda                    The Honorable Virginia Foxx
The Honorable Zachary T. Space               The Honorable R. Michael Conaway
The Honorable Timothy J. Walz                The Honorable Jeff Fortenberry
The Honorable Kirsten E. Gillibrand          The Honorable Jean Schmidt
The Honorable Steve Kagen                    The Honorable Adrian Smith
The Honorable Earl Pomeroy                   The Honorable Tim Walberg
The Honorable John Barrow                    The Honorable Robert E. Latta

House Committee on Energy and Commerce:
The Honorable Henry A. Waxman                The Honorable Thomas H. Allen
The Honorable Edward J. Markey               The Honorable Janice D. Schakowsky
The Honorable Rick Boucher                   The Honorable Hilda L. Solis
The Honorable Edolphus Towns                 The Honorable Charles A. Gonzalez
The Honorable Frank Pallone, Jr.             The Honorable Jay Inslee
The Honorable Bart Gordon                    The Honorable Tammy Baldwin
The Honorable Bobby L. Rush                  The Honorable Mike Ross
The Honorable Anna G. Eshoo                  The Honorable Darlene Hooley
The Honorable Bart Stupak                    The Honorable Anthony D. Weiner
The Honorable Eliot L. Engel                 The Honorable Jim Matheson
The Honorable Gene Green                     The Honorable G.K. Butterfield
The Honorable Diana L. DeGette, Vice Chair   The Honorable Charlie Melancon
The Honorable Lois Capps                     The Honorable John Barrow
The Honorable Mike Doyle                     The Honorable Baron P. Hill
The Honorable Jane Harman                    The Honorable Doris O. Matsui

The Honorable Ralph M. Hall       The Honorable George P. Radanovich
The Honorable Fred Upton          The Honorable Joseph R. Pitts
The Honorable Cliff Stearns       The Honorable Mary Bono Mack
The Honorable Nathan Deal         The Honorable Greg Walden
The Honorable Ed Whitfield        The Honorable Lee Terry
The Honorable Barbara Cubin       The Honorable Michael A. Ferguson
The Honorable John M. Shimkus     The Honorable Michael J. Rogers
The Honorable Heather A. Wilson   The Honorable Sue Wilkins Myrick
The Honorable John B. Shadegg     The Honorable John Sullivan
The Honorable Charles Pickering   The Honorable Timothy F. Murphy
The Honorable Vito Fossella       The Honorable Michael C. Burgess
The Honorable Roy Blunt           The Honorable Marsha Blackburn
The Honorable Steve Buyer


                                    David Wm. Smith, PhD.
               Shelton H. Short Jr. Emeritus Professor of Forestry, Virginia Tech.
                         Past-President, Society of American Foresters

Dr. Smith has forty-one years of experience in forestry education, research, and technology
transfer with an emphasis on the silviculture, and soil-site-plant relationships of eastern U.S.
forests. He has developed and taught courses and educational programs in urban forestry, and
programs for continuing professional forestry education. Dr. Smith is the author or coauthor of
more than 70 research papers and proceedings related to forest management and has provided
professional forestry testimony before US Congressional Committees/Panels on five occasions.
He is a Past-President and Fellow in the Society of American Foresters, a Member of the
Virginia Board of Forestry, a Member of Virginia Forestry Educational Foundation Board of
Directors, and a Captain, USN – Retired.

                                  Chadwick D. Oliver, PhD.
           Pinchot Professor of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University
                    Director, Yale Global Institute of Sustainable Forestry

Dr. Oliver's research during the 1970's and 1980's focused on the basic understanding of how
forests developed and how silviculture could be applied to ecological systems most effectively.
Much of this work is incorporated in a book he wrote entitled Forest Stand Dynamics (1990, and
update edition in 1996) with a former student as co-author. He has continued this work; during
the past decade he has also examined how this understanding can help resolve scientific,
technical, and management issues at the landscape and policy levels. He is currently working on
landscape approaches to management and is involved in the technical tools, the policies, the
management approaches, and the educational needs. He was a member of the Science Panel at
President Clinton's Forest Conference in 1993, has testified at United States Senate and House of
Representatives Committee Hearings, and has served on or chaired various scientific panels for
the United States and Washington State executive and legislative branches of government. He
was recently chair of the Forest Health Report science panel, presented to the United States
House of Representatives and member of both a United States Senate Scientific Panel and a
Society of American Foresters national task force to review national forest management

Dr. Oliver is the author of more than 100 scientific and technical papers on forest science
subjects and has considerable experience advising public and private forest resource
organizations in the United States and abroad. His work has taken him to all parts of the United
States and to Canada, Mexico, Turkey, Nepal, Japan, Thailand, Sweden, Finland, Russia,
Ecuador, Germany, and France.

                                       James N. Long, PhD.
           Professor of Silviculture and Forest Ecology, Utah State University, Logan

Dr. Long’s research, and that of his graduate students, spans a broad range of the continuum
from basic to applied forest ecology. His goal is to conduct research which will make a
demonstrable difference in wildland resource management.

Specifically, Dr. Long’s research program is in forest ecology and silviculture. He studies the
structure and function of forest populations and communities--for example, stand dynamics and
production ecology. Through his work, Dr. Long seeks to provide a basic understanding of forest
populations for those who manage forest vegetation.

                                      Kevin L. O’Hara, PhD.
                   Professor of Silviculture, University of California, Berkeley

Dr. O’Hara’s research involves integrating stand dynamics into stand- and landscape-level
decision-making. Stand dynamics generally refers to changes in stand structure and related
processes over time. With a good understanding of stand structure and stand development,
silviculturists and other forest managers can anticipate changes in structure and make appropriate
interventions to meet management objectives. These management objectives may involve
enhancing wildlife habitat, restoring ecosystem function, or growing trees for timber production.

Other research has involved reconstruction of mixed-species stand development to compare
growth rates of different species. Patterns of height growth development can vary between
species enabling mixed-species stands to form multistrata canopies. These multistrata canopies
can meet some management objectives not met by single-species stands that under many
management regimes lack structural variability. Finally, a major portion of his research effort is
focused on decision support tools to assist managers making silvicultural decisions. These
decision support systems include models which predict stand growth, decision keys for
prioritizing stands for pre-commercial thinning treatments, expert systems for prioritizing
silvicultural treatments, and the development of stocking guidelines for single-species, mixed-
species, and multi-aged stands.


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