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|Articles - March 2011|
|Wednesday, March 02, 2011|
The growing pains of the federal Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) may be nearing an end, presenting an opportunity for those in Oregon’s biomass industry. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Administration (FAS) has almost smoothed out the administrative rules of the 3-year-old program; Congress will consider funding in the next few months.
The BCAP was formed with the intent of jump-starting investor confidence in agricultural and woody biomass harvesting by offering matching payments of up to $45 per dry ton of biomass to producers who deliver the fuel source to a power plant. However, the vague administrative language of the program led to abuse.
“We didn’t have the parameters to make sure we followed the intent of the program,” says Oregon FSA representative Lois Loop. Some woody biomass producers across the nation diverted wood residues to biomass plants that would have gone to existing industries like particleboard furniture manufacturing because they could get matching BCAP payments. Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon) and other legislators protested this abuse of the program that led to higher costs in the existing industries and suspended it in February.
Of the $244 million of BCAP matching payments given out in FY 2009 and FY 2010, Oregon received $6 million, partly because the program qualification rules favored agricultural biomass producers. “It’s like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole,” says Loop of configuring the program for woody biomass producers. “We’re still rounding off the square corners.”
The FSA is educating people in Oregon’s biomass industry on how to use the program: If it receives funding, it could mean millions of dollars in subsidies for Oregon’s woody biomass producers.
“It’s an interesting program…it will bring a lot more interest in biomass,” says Tom Ludlow, CFO of Klamath Falls-based timber company JWTR. “[But] if a project doesn’t work without government subsidies, it’s probably not going to work.”
Wednesday, July 09, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
Scott Kveton, the CEO of Urban Airship is taking a leave of absence from the company. As the story continues to unfold, here’s our perspective on a few of the key players.
Tuesday, July 08, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
The New Yorker recently published a sharply worded critique of “disruptive innovation,” one of the most widely cited theories in the business world today. The article raises questions about the descriptive value of disruption and innovation — whether the terms are mere buzzwords or actually explain today's extraordinarily complex and fast changing business environment.
Update: We caught up with Portland's Thomas Thurston, who shared his data driven take on the disruption controversy.
Friday, August 15, 2014
In this week's poll, we asked readers: "Who should pay for the troubled Cover Oregon website?" Here are the results.
Thursday, July 31, 2014
BY MARY SPILDE | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR
Faced with the aftermath of the “great recession,” increasing concern about the environment and dwindling family wage jobs, we have some very important choices to make about our future.
Thursday, July 24, 2014
BY CLIFF HOCKLEY | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR
With the increasing retirements of Baby Boomers, a massive real estate shift has created a significant increase in demand for NNN properties. The result? Increased demand has triggered higher prices and lower yields.
Monday, June 30, 2014
Oregon Business magazine won two silver awards for excellence in writing in the National American Society of Business Publication Editors Western region competition.
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
BY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER
When I say, “Your Employee is Always Right,” I do not mean “right about the facts,” but rather “right about how they feel” and “right about how they want to be led.”
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Lane Powell Shareholder William T. Patton has been appointed to the board of directors for Cascade AIDS Project, an organization that provides educational services and outreach to thousands of Oregonians living with HIV/AIDS.
Fifty-one Lane Powell lawyers were recently selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® (Best Lawyers) 2015; of those selected, 23 lawyers are from the Firm’s office in Portland, Oregon.
Barran Liebman is proud to announce that Andrew Schpak, a Partner of the firm, has been named Chair of the American Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division for the 2014-2015 bar year.