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I live and work in central Oregon. I have heard about a plan to use invasive juniper trees to create a biomass product that could be burned in the Boardman plant. Is this still an option?
Moreover, some things to think about with this issue.
Although it may not germinate from seed, it can still spread from rhiozomes. Look at kudzu in the southeast if you want to look at the possibilities of a non-native invasive weed and the damage that can happen from uncontrolled growth.
What about the effects of growing giant cane on the local alfafa and ranching economies? Won't local ranchers now have to pay more for alfafa hay to feed in the winter? Reducing the available acreage by 60,000 acres will be great for alfafa growers, but may not be great for ranchers or dairy farmers.
Could juniper and giant cane be used together? Invasive juniper grows over 6 million acres in central and eastern Oregon, with negative effects for landowners and watersheds. Cutting juniper and shipping to Boardman by rail would be good for local economies, rangelands, watersheds, and landowners. Obviously, it has issues as well related to transportation, extracting juniper over a larger area, and creating a useable product from the juniper.
I believe all these issues should be discussed or addressed as the state and PGE moves forward with possibility of changing the Boardman plant to a biomass facility.
posted 2 years, 3 months ago
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