[NEWS] Biomass Amendments in Energy Legislation Spark Debate Over “Carbon-Neutrality”
– by Robert Walton, April 25, 2016, Utility Dive
The Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016 was largely free of controversy a pair of holds were removed and an offshore drilling revenue amendment was pulled. But ClimatWire reports two amendments declaring biofuels as a carbon-neutral resource and possibly opening the door to co-fire biomass and coal generation has the potential to undo goodwill created by the bill, which aims to modernize the grid and emphasize efficiency.
According to the carbon-neutral amendment, the Secretary of Agriculture, and the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency must “establish clear and simple policies for the use of forest biomass as an energy solution, including policies that … reflect the carbon-neutrality of forest bioenergy and recognize biomass as a renewable energy source, provided the use of forest biomass for energy production does not cause conversion of forests to non-forest use.”
The inclusion of the amendment was a major win for the industry.
National Alliance of Forest Owners President Dave Tenny told ClimateWire “the overall benefit of this is that it reaffirms the role of biomass as a renewable energy source and part of our overall energy and climate solution.”
But dozens of environmental groups, including Friends of the Earth, New York Climate Action Group and Green America, argue that “treating forest bioenergy as having no carbon emissions directly contradicts physical reality.”