In case you missed it, the Maine State Senate last week unanimously passed legislation that will help foster the production of environmentally-friendly innovations—like plant-based plastics, renewable chemicals, and biofuels—as well as speed up Maine’s transformation to a 21st-century, bio-based economy that generates green products and jobs.
The bill establishes a tax credit for creating renewable products from forest, farm, sea, or solid waste biomass and brings back another tax credit for the commercial production and use of biofuels. It now heads to the desk of Governor Janet Mills to be signed into law.
“As a society, we must end our reliance on climate-damaging fossil fuels for the production of plastics, chemicals, and other products we use every day,” said Mike Belliveau, executive director of the Environmental Health Strategy Center. “The production tax incentive established by LD 1698 helps to level the playing field for emerging biobased technology companies seeking to compete with the heavily subsidized oil and gas industry, and establishes Maine as a national leader in the fight against climate change.”
By embracing a renewable future and the development of new bio-based products, Maine will curtail harmful greenhouse gases and reduce the amount of plastic in our oceans, which will benefit the state’s lobster supply chain—an economic powerhouse to the tune of $1 billion annually. But in addition to a smaller carbon footprint and cleaner oceans, The Pine Tree State will see new revenue streams for agricultural producers and rural communities as well as drive investment in forest bio-products.
According to the Environmental Health Strategy Center:
The legislation will incentivize new, climate-friendly biobased technologies to invest in Maine, fighting global climate change and creating high-paying green jobs that will revitalize Maine’s mill town communities suffering from economic distress.
In the forest bioproducts sector alone, the production tax credit is forecast to attract investment of over $1 billion in new manufacturing facilities and create more than 1,000 new jobs in manufacturing, logging, transportation and other support industries, according to an analysis from biobased trade association Biobased Maine.
The same analysis shows tremendous environmental benefits, with products made from renewable materials replacing over 250,000 tons per year of petrochemicals and fossil fuels. It will also slash global greenhouse gas emissions by more than 750,000 tons per year due to biobased products’ much smaller carbon footprint during manufacture and use.
“The booming biobased industry offers Maine’s rural communities an unparalleled opportunity for new growth and revitalization,” said Jamie Chittum, board president of Biobased Maine. “But until now, Maine has failed to compete for investment with other natural resource-rich states that already offer production tax incentives. That will change with this new legislation, which will grow this industry in Maine and create hundreds of high-paying green jobs over the next ten years.”
This is a great step forward for Maine as industrial biotechnology companies continue growing and developing the sustainable products that will improve our world for future generations.
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