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U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack hosts* the signing of the USDA Bioenergy Memorandum of Understanding, where Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden joined leaders from, Biomass Power Association, President and CEO Bob Cleaves; Pellet Fuels Institute Executive, Director Jennifer Hedrick; Biomass Thermal Energy Council, Executive Director Joseph Seymour; and Alliance for Green Heat, President John Ackerly, for the announcement of the new partnership agreement, at the USDA Headquarters, in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, September 11, 2013. Moderating the event is Under Secretary for Rural Development Doug O’Brien. The partnership agreement focuses on promoting wood energy nationwide as a means to address fire risks, bolster rural economic development, improve air quality, and help meet the Obama Administration’s renewable energy and energy efficiency goals. These organizations support the use of wood energy across the scale of users – from residential users, to commercial and intuitional facilities, to industrial production of heat and or electricity to drive businesses and feed the electrical grid. Under the terms of the five grants announced by Deputy Secretary Harden, private, state and federal organizations will work together to stimulate the development of additional wood energy projects in their states. Collectively, $2.9 million will be spent o this effort -- $1.1 million on federal funds and $1.8 million in non federal funds. For more information o0n the cooperative agreement program, visit USDA Photo by Lance Cheung. *Secretary Vilsack was called away and could not attend as planned.

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