EPA Says

Go Coal Go!

Responding to the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan (CPP)—itself a bureaucratic response to an executive order that was essentially dead on arrival when released in fall 2015 and immediately tossed into legal and administrative limbo—the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has now followed the Trump Administration’s executive order by rescinding the CPP and replacing it with the Affordable
Clean Energy (ACE) rule.

In doing so, the EPA has provided emissions reduction guidelines, best systems for emissions reduction and a framework for planning and implementing new reductions.

Most significant for the wood bioenergy industry, however, is that as part of rightfully altering the CPP that over-reached in many areas, the EPA has kicked biomass to the curb as a viable way to reduce carbon emissions.

What the EPA has done with ACE’s approach to shunning biomass is create a bureaucratic contrivance that makes a decent case—as long as the EPA and power producers ignore the rest of the world’s approach to carbon reduction and basic principles of sustainability.

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From Left: David Abbott, Senior Associate Editor; Dan Shell, Managing Editor; Jessica Johnson, Associate Editor; Rich Donnell, Editor-in-Chief

By propping up fossil fuels (that are already heavily subsidized), the EPA is ignoring the basic policy principles supporting the U.S. pellet export industry. In fact, the pellet industry has repeatedly proven its sustainability
and contribution to global greenhouse gas reductions as evidenced by activities such as Enviva’s procurement tracking program and peer-reviewed scientific research showing virtually no impact on timber inventory or environmental quality.

The new EPA rule also ignores a mountain of research and demonstrations that biomass is the perfect fuel for co-firing with coal and enabling a transition to a more renewable energy environmental, as the only truly renewable baseload fuel.

With its new ACE, the EPA is missing an opportunity to highlight and promote biomass as a robust, reliable—and renewable—energy source that complements current coal-fired infrastructure and investments.