OSU research helps policymakers develop air quality regulations

stack of lumber
New OSU research can save Oregon lumber companies up to $20 million in unnecessary regulatory expenses. (Photo: OSU)

Research decreases emissions from lumber drying, maintains Oregon's manufacturing competitiveness

The plumes of steam coming from kiln drying of green lumber at sawmills contain lots of water and some volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs such as methanol and formaldehyde are listed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as hazardous air pollutants subject to control under the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments. Lumber manufacturers must demonstrate to regulators and the public that their operations meet standards for protecting air quality, while minimizing costs so they can stay competitive with foreign producers.

Research conducted by professor Michael Milota of OSU’s Forest Research Laboratory provided the scientific basis for new emission regulations that ensure environmental safety at minimal cost. The research is credited with saving smaller Oregon lumber manufacturers $15 million to $20 million in unnecessary regulatory expenses.

Milota annually teaches a short course to Oregon dry kiln operators about his research and how to reduce emissions and maximize quality and profitability. The economy benefits from a competitive wood products industry, especially in rural communities, and all Oregonians benefit from improved air quality.

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