Lawmakers Cheer EPA’s Biomass Break

The Environmental Protection Agency responded Wednesday to a request from Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley to clear the way for the production of biomass energy in Oregon and other states by announcing that EPA will exempt carbon emissions from biomass facilities from Clean Air Act regulation for at least three years.

Because biomass is produced from renewable resources in the United States, it has a significant role to play in reducing the nation’s dependence on foreign oil and combating climate change.

In a letter to Senator Merkley, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson stated that the agency will defer application of emissions rules to biomass energy facilities while the agency engages in a scientific review to determine the best means of accounting for the environmental benefits of biomass fuel. Senator Merkley requested this specific action in a letter to Administrator Jackson and in ongoing dialogue with the administrator and other senior White House officials over the past year.

“Oregon is poised to grow into a world leader in biomass energy production,” Merkley said. “Today’s decision marks a victory for rural Oregon, timber communities, and the future of the industry in our state. Increased production and use of home-grown, American biomass energy will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and create jobs here in Oregon.”