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PRESS RELEASE- Downing Tapped by Senate President for Role in Shaping Incentives for Advancement of Biofuels in Commonwealth’s Burgeoning Clean Energy Sector: Second Special Appointment for Downing to Study Biofuels in Massachusetts
June 04, 2009

Boston - State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D-Pittsfield) was appointed by Senate President Therese Murray (D-Plymouth) to a Special Commission Studying the Feasibility and Effectiveness of Various Incentives Designed to Promote the Development and Use of Advanced Biofuels in the Commonwealth this week.


This is Senator Downing’s second appointment to a special committee examining the viability of advanced biofuels in the Commonwealth.  His support for renewable energy generation and his historical perspective on the topic due to participation in the Commonwealth’s Advanced Biofuels Taskforce made him an attractive candidate for the appointment. 


“Senator Downing understands the importance that a new generation of biofuels could have not only on the Commonwealth’s environment, but on our economy as well,” said Senate President Murray.  “Senator Downing’s commitment and focus on this emerging technology will be invaluable to this Commission as they move forward with their efforts.”


The Commonwealth’s Advanced Biofuels Taskforce recommendations resulted in Chapter 206 of 2008, An Act Relative to Clean Energy Biofuels.  This landmark initiative promotes clean-fuel production, aims to create thousands of new jobs and dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Further, the Act positioned Massachusetts as the first state in the nation to exempt cellulosic ethanol – a natural, next-generation fuel substitute – from the state gasoline excise tax to spur research and development and establish its future use in transportation and heating fuels.


“The work my colleagues and I accomplished on the Taskforce set the stage for Massachusetts to be a leader in advanced biofuel technology.  During our work, it became clear that there was a need for more detailed deliberations beyond the scope of the original panel. This Special Commission will address these issues and examine ways to incentivize the advancement of biofuel technology across Massachusetts.  I am pleased to be given this important role in shaping the future of biofuels in the Commonwealth,” said Downing.  “Successful implementation of the Commission’s recommendations will generate positive economic and environmental impacts for all current and future residents of Massachusetts.”


The 11 member Special Commission is chaired by the House and Senate chairs of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy.  As outlined in Section 5 of Chapter 206 of the Acts of 2008, it will review and make recommendations on the merits of production credits, the production and harvesting of woody biomass or woody residue, feedstock incentives and direct consumer credits for the use of advanced biofuels in various applications.  In conducting its investigation, the Commission will also consider biofuel incentive programs in other states and the Commonwealth’s relative competitiveness in the field.




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