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Bill in Works to End Renewable Energy Credits

March 18th, 2013 by WCBC Radio

A month ago, the manager of Luke paper mill pledged in writing to remain neutral on a bill in the state legislature that would curtail renewable energy payments to mills burning a residue called “black liquor.” Last week,  he changed his mind. The flip-flop irked key Maryland lawmakers, but the Luke mill manager was just one of a parade of people from the American Forest and Paper Association, the United Steelworkers and Dominion Resources who opposed the bill in hearings in Annapolis on Tuesday and Thursday. The biggest surprise was the opposition of Luke mill manager Richard Watro, who on Feb. 4 had written a letter to two lawmakers who wanted to reduce payments to paper mills under a renewable-energy law adopted in 2004. Watro said that “Luke Paper Co. does not intend to oppose a bill to redefine ‘qualifying biomass’ ” in the new law. Allegany County Commissioner Bill Valentine, while not commenting on Watro’s position on the issue, said passage of the legislation could be devastating for one of the region’s major employers.

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