Environmental groups in 23 states have asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to end its three-year exemption of biomass power plant greenhouse gas emissions from Clean Air Act permitting.
The exemption also enables biomass plant builders and operators to avoid using the best pollution controls for the smokestack emissions that cause local air pollution and harm human health, the advocacy group Partnership for Policy Integrity said in a news release.
The group said that because of the exemption now proposed biomass power plants are allowed to emit twice the pollution that they would be if they were held to stricter federal standards.
The EPA currently is working on a science-based carbon dioxide accounting plan for biomass facilities. The D.C. Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals concluded that EPA’s exemption of biomass energy from regulation of carbon dioxide was not justified, but the agency has not yet reversed the exemption, the group said.