Savannah Now – The same week that the EPA announced in Cochran, Ga., it will treat wood pellets as a carbon-neutral fuel, a new report raises concerns about the local pollution emitted by the wood pellet industry, showing Georgia to be stricter than other states in controlling that pollution.
Both announcements are important to the Peach State, which hosts five wood pellet factories and has four more either proposed or under construction. Georgia also leads the nation in the overall biomass harvest volume and the export of wood pellets and wood chips, according to the Georgia Forestry Commission. About 22 million acres in Georgia -- 60 percent of the state’s land mass -- are privately owned working forests, more than in any other state.
On Monday, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt met with representatives of the Georgia Forestry Association in Cochran to announce the agency would be treating the wood from managed forests as carbon neutral when it’s burned for energy production at power plants. EPA will also be assessing options for treating other biomass - such as peanut and pecan shells -- as carbon neutral.
“Today’s announcement grants America’s foresters much-needed certainty and clarity with respect to the carbon neutrality of forest biomass,” Pruitt said in a press release. “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.”
Read more at Savannah Now.