Groups advocate for biogenic emissions framework in letter

By Erin Voegele | August 14, 2014

More than 100 organizations recently partnered to issue a letter to John Podesta, counselor to President Obama, urging his support in the release of the U.S. EPA’s biogenic accounting framework.

“Biomass is an essential part of both federal and state energy strategies,” wrote the organizations in the letter, “Unfortunately, however, federal policy has created significant uncertainty for the future of biomass energy and biomanufacturing.” In its June 3, 2010 rulemaking, the treated biomass energy carbon emissions identically to fossil fuel emissions under its Tailoring Rule. “Following a significant response from the biomass community, including a letter from 113 noted scientists affirming the carbon benefits of biomass energy and bioproducts, EPA took corrective action by committing to complete a carbon accounting framework for biomass energy by July 21, 2014,” the organizations continued. However, that deadline has now passed, and the timing and the content of the framework are still unknown.

“Until the framework is completed, the uncertainty surrounding biomass will continue with negative repercussions for both federal and state policies, including President Obama’s Climate Action Plan,” the letter states.

Within the letter, the organizations urge Podesta’s support for the timely completion of a carbon accounting framework that affirms the role of biomass in the nation’s long-term energy solution. The groups ask that the framework be proposed as soon as possible and includes an efficient public review process. The groups also urge that the framework recognize that biomass has a neutral or minimal impact on atmospheric carbon when compared to fossil fuels. In addition, the letter stresses the framework should apply broad temporal and spatial scales to avoid accounting distortions and use actual data father than complex or speculative models. They groups also indicate the framework should be simple to implement and provide states maximum flexibility to administer their renewable energy programs.

The letter is signed by more than 100 organizations, including the 25x25 Alliance, Advanced Biofuels Association, Algae Biomass Organization, American Council on Renewable Energy, Biomass Power Association, Biomass Thermal Energy Council, Biotechnology Industry Organization, Drax Biomass International, Genera Energy Inc., Growth Energy, New England Wood Pellets, and Pellet Fuels Institute.

A full copy of the letter can be downloaded here.