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April 25, 2018

EPA Declares Biomass Plants Carbon Neutral, Amid Scientific Disagreement

  • Government
  • Agency
  • Industry
  • Energy

Scientific American / E&E News – Scott Pruitt suggested yesterday that U.S. forests would offset potential carbon dioxide emissions released by burning wood for energy. But his controversial decision on biomass was rejected by critics as an unscientific step to help the forest industry.

The EPA administrator announced yesterday at a Georgia elementary school that the agency now considers biomass to be carbon neutral for the purposes of regulating emissions from stationary sources, like power plants that burn wood.

The agency went out of its way to note that the decision isn’t based on a scientific determination. Biomass has been at the center of a decadelong debate among scientists over its emissions. The amount of CO2 that’s released changes with the type of wood, or feedstock, that’s cut down. Older trees contain more carbon. The act of burning wood also produces carbon dioxide.

In a six-page policy statement, the agency argued that the nation’s forests are a net carbon sink, offsetting about 11.2 percent of gross U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2015.

Read more at Scientific American.

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