AUGUSTA – The Maine Forest Service, under the Maine Department of Conservation, is asking for comments and questions about the application process for the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 Wood to Energy Grants Program.

 The third call for applications for public wood-to-energy projects is expected to be announced later this month, Maine Forest Service officials said.

A total of $2.7 million will be available as grants for the installation of wood-energy boilers to all Maine public entities or parties with public buildings, including schools, hospitals, state, county, local and tribal governments in this round

“We want to make the application process as clear as possible and to provide guidance to potential applicants,” Thomas C. Wood, Maine Forest Service senior planner, said. “To make that possible, we would like to hear all comments and questions from interested parties in order to refine the application process.”

  Donald J. Mansius, Maine Forest Service acting state forester, said, “Local land owners, woods workers, and truckers all benefit from having local customers for their product, and schools benefit from an abundant, renewable energy supply at a reduced cost.”

 According to a statement by the Maine Department of Conservation on Tuesday, the wood-to-energy grant concept was developed and proposed by the Maine Forest Service and approved for funding by the USDA Forest Service.

The effort has been designed as a competitive grant process open in all Maine communities for state, county, local and tribal governmental buildings, as well as for school and hospital structures.

A total of $11.4 million was made available to the state for the grants, with funding coming from the USDA Forest Service-Northeastern Area, State and Private Forestry, targeting primarily rural, economically depressed counties, the release stated.

The third call for applications is expected to open on or about Feb. 23, Wood said. The Maine Forest Service wants to make sure the grant application process is improved to include modifications resulting from the comments and questions, he said.

Those who have comments or questions may send them directly to the Maine Forest Service by using the “send comments” function on the Maine Forest Service grant website or by email to: [email protected]

Comments and questions also will be posted regularly on the Maine Forest Service grant website, Wood said. The draft Round 3 application is available through a link on the website, he said.

For more information about the ARRA grant, go to: http://www.maine.gov/doc/mfs/arra/

For more information about the Round 3 application, go to: http://www.maine.gov/doc/mfs/arra/pages/rd_3_pre_application_info.html


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