NAEDA joins in letter calling on EPA to recognize carbon benefits of biomass energy

Author: Mike Williams | Posted: 8/5/2013

NAEDA has joined some 80 biomass, forestry, agriculture, conservation and bioenergy groups in a letter to EPA stating that any provisions associated with biomass the agency may develop as it completes its Tailoring Rule for biogenic carbon emissions must fully capture the long-term carbon benefits of biomass energy.

The tailoring rule sets the requirements for certain stationary sources to obtain a Clean Air Act permit for their carbon emissions. The rule would for the first time regulate carbon emissions from bioenergy production the same as fossil fuel emissions. The rule "tailored" its program by limiting those facilities required to obtain a permit to power plants, refineries and other large industrial plants, while exempting smaller sources like farms, restaurants, schools and other facilities. EPA delayed its implementation of the rule for biogenic carbon emissions for three years, until 2014, for further study.

A recent ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated EPA's 2011 delay, putting pressure on the agency to act now. The ruling has created significant uncertainty for biomass and forest products facilities that have begun operations, construction or major modifications since the agency first delayed implementing the rule two years ago. Companies have made - and are planning to make - significant investments to comply with other environmental regulations, improve energy efficiency, and meet the growing global demand for pulp, paper-based packaging, wood products and energy. A failure by EPA to recognize the full benefits of biomass power production could put those investments in jeopardy.

Read the letter.