Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Biomass industry says new EPA regulation would be devastating, wants break for being green

A top biomass industry official said Tuesday the Environmental Protection Agency's new proposal governing emissions standards would cost the industry $50 billion. "The ruling announced last Friday would apply strict emissions limits on a wide variety of the boiler types used in burning material for energy, including biomass material," Darius Dixon of Environment & Energy Daily reports. In a conference call Tuesday Bob Cleaves, president and CEO of the Biomass Power Association, said the regulation "lacks economic rationality," and while the federal government "has its heart in the right place," the new regulation would be "impossible to comply with."

"The new regulations would cover several pollutants, including particulate matter, cadmium, mercury and carbon monoxide, in addition to greenhouse gases," Dixon writes. "Cleaves said industry leaders believed that biomass power producers might be allowed certain exemptions from new emissions regulations because, in principle, biomass is 'carbon neutral.'" Instead the proposal makes little distinction between biomass and dirtier coal or garbage incineration, Cleaves said.

Franz Matzner, climate legislative director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said last month that EPA's rule must distinguish between those biomass techniques that are carbon-neutral and those that are not. "The science around biomass continues to make clear that not all biomass is good from a carbon footprint perspective," Matzner said. The 45-day public comment period on the rule began on Monday. (Read more, subscription required)

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