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EPA Official Supports Biomass Exemptions from Greenhouse Gas Regulation

A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official has recommended exempting whole classes of biomass fuels from proposed greenhouse gas regulation.

The move by Janet McCabe, EPA acting assistant administrator for Air and Radiation, is contrary to the EPA’s revised draft framework for counting greenhouse gas emissions from biomass energy, according to an e-mail statement from Mary Booth, director of the environmental advocacy group Partnership for Policy Integrity.

The McCabe memo indicates that waste-derived biomass and certain forest-derived industrial products will likely be exempted from regulation, and possibly “sustainably harvested” forest wood as well.

The memo “demonstrates that EPA has decided to ignore the science-based approach attempted in the framework, proposing to exempt whole classes of biomass fuels from regulation despite the agency’s own analysis that such fuels can be large sources of (carbon dioxide),” Booth said.

She added, “EPA’s proposed framework clearly acknowledges biomass energy emits greenhouse gases, and that accounting for bioenergy emissions requires assessing all the impacts that biomass harvesting can have on ecosystems, including the length of time it takes to grow back trees that have been harvested for fuel.”

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