Maine legislators review wood pellet regulations

By Kris Bevill
Web exclusive posted March 12, 2009, at 12:03 p.m. CST

Legislators in Maine are considering a bill which would require wood pellet manufacturers to label their product as a way to provide quality assurance for consumers. Earlier this year, Rep. Wright Pinkam, R-Dist. 88, introduced LD 298 which, if passed, would require wood pellets and other biomass heating fuel sold in Maine to be labeled, identifying whether the fuel meets state Department of Environmental Protection standards. The legislation would also require the environmental protection department to create standards for wood pellet quality.

On March 10, the natural resources committee considered the bill and reached a majority opinion that the bill should not pass. Their recommendation, along with the bill, will make its way through the state house and senate for a final decision.

According to the Pellet Fuels Institute, a non-profit industry association, Maine is the first state to consider a law requiring wood pellets to be labeled for quality assurance. PFI Communications Manager Deidra Darsa told Biomass Magazine that the industry currently sets its own standards and expects pellet mills to responsibly test and certify their product. PFI is currently developing its own standards label that will be available for compliant members to apply to their product. Tests recommended by the institute include: density, dimensions, fines (limited amount of sawdust), chlorides and ash content.