Thursday, September 09, 2010

Biomass emission rules could have big impact on timber industry

In June we reported an Environmental Protection Agency proposal to regulate biomass emissions like those of fossil fuels and complaints from the biomass industry that the rules would place an unfair burden on them. In Montana, the growing biomass industry is watching the proposal closely as industry executives say it could have big implications for the state's forestry industry, Phil Drake of MontanaWatchdog reports. "If the rule goes through, I think it would be an enormous (impact)," Ellen Simpson, executive vice president of the Montana Wood Products Association, told Drake. "It’s a fledgling industry and a lot of things in motion … It could be a very big economic deal for the timber industry."

In an e-mailed statement, the EPA said the agency "is committed to working with stakeholders to examine whether treating biomass-derived carbon emissions as carbon neutral is appropriate, and to assess the associated effects on the development of policies and programs that recognize the potential for biomass to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions and enhance U.S. energy security." The comment period on the proposal ends Sept. 13. "It’s a very serious issue for our folks," Simpson said. "It changes the playing field completely for anyone who wants to burn wood. The tailoring rule adds another layer. It’s a roadblock in getting something positive to happen." (Read more)

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