Forest Products Lab Hosts Important Wood-to-Energy Roundtable with Deputy Under Secretary Butch Blazer
Arthur “Butch” Blazer, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, paid a visit to the U.S. Forest Service Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) in Madison, Wis., recently to convene an important roundtable discussion on wood-to-energy concerns in Wisconsin and the Midwest.
Among the participants were wood scientists and technology transfer authorities from FPL and Forest Service’s Northern Research Station, representatives from the logging and paper industries, academics from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and the Great Lakes Bioenergy Resource Center, state natural resources officials, and other national and regional Forest Service officials.
Themes of the overall discussion ranged from that of sustainability and job-growth in the regional forestry sector to collaboration and cooperation among diverse natural resources entities. Clearer communication was also stressed as a means to effective public engagement and community outreach.
Developing consistent terminology for bioenergy communications was deemed essential. Reaching out to diverse populations, including both urban and rural young people, to provide rationale for the healthy management of Federal forest lands, was another active discussion topic.
“It’s very encouraging,” Blazer said in his concluding remarks. “There is still work to do, of course, but you’re headed in the right direction.”
Blazer has attended similar roundtables sessions in Santa Fe and Seattle and feels strongly that they have helped him keep aware of the realities of what is happening at the state level.