Paper Industry Panics

Paper Industry Panics

My column in this week’s issue of The Nation — about the paper industry exploiting an alternative fuel tax credit — has gotten some attention in the blogosphere. Today, I recorded an interview for the NPR program Living on Earth, which should be out tomorrow.

It also seems like the paper industry has taken notice. Check out the memo forwarded to me by a source:

Subject: Help Needed: Alternative Fuel Mixture Tax Credit

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My column in this week’s issue of The Nation — about the paper industry exploiting an alternative fuel tax credit — has gotten some attention in the blogosphere. Today, I recorded an interview for the NPR program Living on Earth, which should be out tomorrow.

It also seems like the paper industry has taken notice. Check out the memo forwarded to me by a source:

Subject: Help Needed: Alternative Fuel Mixture Tax Credit

DATE: April 2, 2009TO: Pulp Producing Member Company Government Affairs RepresentativesFROM: Elizabeth VanDersarlRE: Help Needed: Alternative Fuel Mixture Tax Credit

We have reason to believe that Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-IA) might drop a bill as soon as today that would disqualify black liquor from the alternative fuel mixture tax credit. We need to take action immediately.

Please contact Senators on the Finance Committee (list attached) and urge them to tell Senators Baucus and Grassley not to offer such a bill, and instead take time to learn more about how this credit is helping renewable energy production and the forest products industry.

Attached are three documents for your use. A list of Senate Finance Committee members, a fact sheet, and Q & A document. Three key points follow:

• Congress passed a law in 2005 (Safe, Accountable, Flexible, EfficientTransportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users) that was later clarifiedin 2007 (Tax Technical Corrections Act of 2007) offering tax credits tocompanies that produce and use certain alternative fuel mixtures.

• The forest products industry is the largest producer and generator of renewable electricity in the country, generating more power than all the solar, wind and geothermal producers combined. Some facilities qualify for the alternative fuel mixtures tax credit because of the mixtures that are used in fuel boilers at pulp and paper mills.

• Since 2006, the forest products industry has lost 250,000 jobs and shuttered 52 pulp and paper mills. When those mills closed, the renewable energy they produce was lost too. Policymakers are focused on preserving and creating jobs and increasing renewable energy production, the alternative fuel mixture credit helps achieve both of these important objectives.

Thank you for your help!

I called the Finance Committee, and am waiting to hear back from them to confirm whether or not they are considering closing the loophole.

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