With a $2 million award for research and a second $750,000 development grant, the California Energy Commission this week furthered the use of biomass for creating electricity. Although the commission didn?t mention it, the biomass votes came just after President George Bush signed the Healthy Forests Act into law?a move guaranteed to create huge amounts of excess biomass. The $2 million award went to developing a life-cycle assessment model with the U.S. Forest Service for biomass use associated with fire reduction?the very heart of the Healthy Forests Act. Funding for a 50 kW expansion of an existing plant on Hoopa tribal land was also approved. The Hoopa tribe has used the electricity for its tree nursery to grow saplings to reforest logged areas. The biomass in this case is not burned but turned into gas, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The CEC appears to be doing most business as usual, despite the ban imposed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on agency action, according to spokesperson Claudia Chandler. Because of that ban, the CEC put off new washing machine regulations by one business meeting. Distributed-generation regulations have also been pulled back for an unknown duration.