Most Oregon legislators agreed Monday that one man’s trash is another man’s fuel and the state shouldn’t interfere with his ability to put it to good use while others opposed a measure to exempt woody biomass from regulations applied to solid wastes.

Rep. Andy Olson, R-Albany, introduced House Bill 3687 as a solution to uncertainty about what state rules should apply to woody biomass burners, which generate power by super-heating wood byproducts previously treated as waste. The technology is generally considered a renewable source of energy since it is fueled by what would otherwise go unused and works within the existing carbon cycle of forests rather than burning fossil fuels that were removed from the cycle under the Earth’s surface.

“Treating biomass boilers as solid waste incinerators could result in closures of existing biomass facilities and slow the development of new ones,” Olson said, which he feared would cost Oregonians jobs and weaken the state’s push for renewable energy sources.

Yet some argued the bill would the exact opposite if approved by the Senate and became law.

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