Grants NAFO's petition to reconsider; outlines rulemaking and scientific inquiry

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today granted the National Alliance of Forest Owners' (NAFO) petition to reconsider the treatment of biomass carbon emissions under the Prevention of Significant Deterioration and Title V Greenhouse Gas Tailoring Rule (Tailoring Rule).  In doing so, the EPA announced that it will defer permit requirements for biomass energy production for a period of at least three years pending future consideration of the science and subsequent rulemaking.  Dave Tenny, President and CEO of the National Alliance of Forest Owners (NAFO), issued the following statement in response to today's announcement:

NAFO applauds EPA's action as a critical step toward recognizing the full carbon benefits of biomass as a leading source of renewable energy.  The three-year moratorium is an appropriate response to NAFO's request.  It will allow the EPA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to work with Congress, biomass producers and users, scientists and other interested parties to develop a science-based policy supporting a vibrant biomass energy sector for the long term without penalizing biomass energy production in the interim.

We appreciate that the EPA, USDA and the Administration have heard our concerns that the Tailoring Rule included a sudden and unprecedented change in policy without appropriate public participation.  Over 100 bipartisan members of Congress, numerous state officials, and over 100 respected scientists have expressed their concerns about the rule.  All have urged EPA to appropriately recognize the carbon benefits of biomass energy in the Tailoring Rule to support renewable energy production, rural jobs and sound forest management.

NAFO agrees with EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson's assessment that "[r]enewable, homegrown power sources are essential to our energy future, and an important step to cutting the pollution responsible for climate change."   We also appreciate the important contributions of Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and key leaders in Congress.  NAFO remains committed to working with the EPA, USDA, Congress and others to secure a policy recognizing the full carbon benefits of biomass energy while also supporting the important jobs and economic benefits it brings to rural communities.

It is now critical that we work together in the coming months on deliberate steps to support biomass energy production, remove uncertainty that harms investment and threatens jobs, support working forests and secure biomass as a strong, renewable, domestic energy source that will benefit our country long into the future.