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Atlantica Bioenergy Task Force hosts industry and government leaders
Date:11/25/2008

ST. ANDREWS, NB, Nov. 25 /PRNewswire/ - The Atlantica BioEnergy Task Force today completed a two-day Leadership Forum in St. Andrews, with political, business and education leaders from across Atlantic Canada and Maine, to explore future bio-related opportunities for the forestry sector.

"The global forest industry is rapidly changing and it is incumbent on all stakeholders to look for environmentally sustainable ways to best use our wood-based resources in the future," says Task Force Executive Director Thor Olesen. "The BioEnergy Task Force is committed to future sustainable development of our forest products and the role biotechnologies can play in that."

Participants in the Leaders Forum included, New Brunswick Premier Shawn Graham, Nova Scotia Environment Minister Mark Parent, Maine Governor John Baldacci and Vice-President of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency's New Brunswick office, Hermel Vienneau.

Each of the government partners contributed $200,000 toward the study.

"The Government of Canada is committed to working in partnership with key government and industry stakeholders, to make strategic investments that will capitalize on opportunities for economic growth," said the Honourable Keith Ashfield, Minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency). "ACOA's investment in the Atlantica BioEnergy Task Force will support the development of this collaborative study and discussion paper that will provide recommendations on how we can advance the forestry sector through the use of new, wood-based biotechnologies."

Premier Shawn Graham says the investment will help sustain and diversify New Brunswick's forest industry, maintaining it as a critical sector as the province moves toward its goal of self-sufficiency.

"As a region, we must be innovative and creative in promoting the use of renewable energy sources in our forest products business," Graham said. "We are encouraged about the possibilities of making the industry more competitive through the use of earth-friendly bio-energy."

"Nova Scotia is committed to growing our economy while protecting the environment," said Environment Minister Mark Parent. "Bioenergy is a compelling opportunity in the renewable sector. We must now work with our partners and assess how specific recommendations can support Nova Scotia's goals for sustainable prosperity."

The Atlantica Bio-Energy Task Force is a coalition of forest industry stakeholders from government, industry, and post-secondary institutions, which share a common interest in the forest resources in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Maine. TheTask Force is in the final stages of developing a comprehensive study and discussion paper that will establish a vision for the next stage of the evolution of the region's forest industry. The recommendations contained in this study will be reviewed by industry leaders and vetted at an upcoming research and development summit being held in Maine in early December. Following that summit, the discussion paper and summary study will be released to the public for comment and input.

The two-day Leadership Forum took place on November 24 and 25, and included keynoted speaker Gary Reiner, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer at GE.

Other Taskforce Members/Funding Partners Include;

Province of Nova Scotia

Province of New Brunswick

State of Maine

Emera

NB Power

Colour

PricewaterhouseCoopers

J.D. Irving, Limited

AV Group

Groupe Savoie

AbitibiBowater

NewPage Corporation

University of New Brunswick

Dalhousie University

University of Maine

FPInnovations

Maine Pulp & Paper Association

Maine Forest Products Council

Forest Products Association of Nova Scotia

New Brunswick Forest Products Association

NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada)

BioAtlantech

New Brunswick Innovation Foundation

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SOURCE Atlantica BioEnergy Task Force
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