Senate Leans Toward Labeling Biomass Power Plants As Carbon Neutral

Pushback rises on burning wood fiber in electric generating plants, as scientists and environmentalists question whether it is, indeed, carbon neutral. A U.S. Senate committee is leaning toward labeling wood-fired power plants as carbon neutral. Panel manufacturers have complained in the past such actions would raise the cost of raw materials for wood products companies. […]

Pushback rises on burning wood fiber in electric generating plants, as scientists and environmentalists question whether it is, indeed, carbon neutral.

A U.S. Senate committee is leaning toward labeling wood-fired power plants as carbon neutral. Panel manufacturers have complained in the past such actions would raise the cost of raw materials for wood products companies. The Energy Policy Modernization Act could become law within a few weeks. The bill is in the reconciliation process with a Congressional version. Senators from heavily forested states, including Maine and Oregon, support the move.

This latest turn of events follows other legislative efforts to support using wood fiber as fuel, including the Biomass Thermal Utilization Act of 2015, introduced by U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) to provide tax breaks for conversion of oil-fired boilers to wood burning. Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) co-sponsored it.

Operating under the “carbon neutral” concept of wood-fired power generation, the U.K. and Germany have converted coal-fired boilers to wood pellets. German firms have built massive pellet plants for export in the South and East U.S.

The new legislation would reverse a 2013 federal court ruling that Clean Air Act limits on carbon dioxide pollution apply to industrial facilities that burn biomass, including tree-burning power plants. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had carved out an exception for “biogenic carbon dioxide.”

From Woodworking Network: http://www.woodworkingnetwork.com/news/woodworking-industry-news/senate-leans-toward-labeling-wood-fired-power-plants-carbon-neutral?ss=news,news,woodworking_industry_news,news,almanac_market_data,news

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