Category Archives: climate change

[NEWS] EPA Makes Decision on Carbon Neutrality of Biomass Energy

– April 23, 2018, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

EPA 600Today, during a meeting with Georgia forestry leaders, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt discussed the importance of environmental stewardship and announced a new decision on the carbon neutrality of forest biomass.

“Today’s announcement grants America’s foresters much-needed certainty and clarity with respect to the carbon neutrality of forest biomass,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “Managed forests improve air and water quality, while creating valuable jobs and thousands of products that improve our daily lives. This is environmental stewardship in action.”

In the meeting with members of the forestry community, Administrator Pruitt announced the Agency issued a statement of policy making clear, that future regulatory actions on biomass from managed forests will be treated as carbon neutral when used for energy production at stationary sources. The Agency will also be assessing options for incorporating non-forest biomass as carbon neutral into future actions.

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[NEWS] Despite Advances, Costs Keep Wood Biocoal on Backburner

– by Frank Jossi, April 2, 2018, Energy News Network

biocoal_energy-news-network

Photo: Energy News Network

At a research lab in the northwoods of Minnesota, scientists are roasting tree waste until it turns into something that looks and burns like coal — without the heavy metal pollution. The finished product is called “biocoal” or “torrefied biomass,” and a team of University of Minnesota-Duluth researchers hope it might someday displace coal to fuel power plants, reinvigorating the region’s forestry economy and reducing carbon emissions at the same time.

The work at the Natural Resources Research Institute lab, about 200 miles north of the Twin Cities, appears to be the latest technical advance for woody biomass. The team’s facility is able to produce as much as 6 tons per day of the biocoal, which has energy values similar to coal. It’s been successfully tested in a Milwaukee tourist train and a large, coal-fired power plant owned by Minnesota Power, the investor-owned utility in the area.

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[NEWS] Omnibus Draft: Biomass Energy “Carbon Neutral”

– by Dean Scott, March 21, 2018, Bloomberg

smokestack question markEmissions from forest biomass would continue to be treated as carbon-neutral and the EPA would be barred from regulating lead in bullets and fishing tackle under the draft omnibus spending bill, congressional aides told Bloomberg Environment.

Both the ammunition and forest biomass regulatory provisions would be retained from previous spending measures.

The biomass language would shield facilities that burn wood and other organic matter from greenhouse gas regulation. The forestry and paper industries have long sought to have biomass treated as carbon neutral, arguing that the decaying plant matter would eventually release its trapped greenhouse gas emissions.

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[NEWS] EPA Chief Signals Push To Declare Biomass Energy Carbon-Neutral

EPA 600– by Annie Ropeik, February 15, 2018, NHPR

During his New Hampshire visit Tuesday, Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt signaled plans for new federal energy policies that could bolster a struggling regional industry – biomass.

In a letter to Gov. Chris Sununu, Pruitt suggests the agency plans to add biomass, including wood and other plant-based fuels, to its “‘all of the above’ energy portfolio.”

“As you and I both recognize, continuing to be responsible stewards of our nation’s forests and lands while utilizing all domestic forms of biomass to meet our energy needs are mutually compatible goals,” Pruitt wrote.

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[NEWS] Questions As U.S. Wood Pellet Makers Expand Production

– by Jacqueline Froelich, January 1, 2017, NPR

wood pellets 600The wood pellet fuel industry is growing in the United States. The largest chip mills across the South are gobbling up hardwood forests to meet demand for overseas customers.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Wood Pellets are big business. U.S. companies send almost a billion dollars worth of wood pellets to the European Union, which uses them to power energy plants. But the appetite overseas for wood pellets has conservationists in the U.S. worried about our forests. Arkansas Public Media’s Jacqueline Froelich reports.

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[NEWS] With Biomass Energy, Weighing Forest Restoration and Carbon Emissions

– by Emery Cowan, January 5, 2017, Arizona Daily Sun

feller-buncher_jake-bacon

Photo: Jake Bacon / Arizona Daily Sun

When state utility regulators held a workshop last month about increasing the use of forest biomass for power, one topic did not make it into the discussion: the emissions produced from burning small trees, branches and treetops hauled from Arizona’s forests.

Compared to coal, burning biomass emits lower amounts of key pollutants like sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, but it generally equals or surpasses coal in the amount of carbon dioxide it emits per unit of heat.

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