Tailoring the Tailoring Rule

EPA finalizes its decision to defer biomass emissions regulation for three years.
By Anna Austin | July 28, 2011

The U.S. EPA will maintain its proposal to defer biomass from the Greenhouse Gas Tailoring Rule for three years while it further studies the science and policy of regulating biomass energy.

The final version of the Tailoring Rule regulated biomass, or biogenic emissions, in the same manner as fossil fuels. It went into effect Jan. 2, but in response to multiple comments warning of its detrimental effects, the EPA announced the three-year deferment for biomass, with a final rulemaking to be made in July.

In the final deferment rule, the EPA says it will conduct a detailed examination of the science associated with biogenic CO2 emissions from stationary sources. The EPA will then send the study to the Science Advisory Board for peer review.

David Tenny, president of the National Alliance of Forest Owners, says that forest owners are pleased that the EPA has finalized the rule, and that the original Tailoring Rule was flawed.

Tenny says that as the review commences, it is important that the EPA and key agencies, such as the USDA and the U.S. DOE, conduct a review free of arbitrary assumptions or parameters that skew well-settled science. “For instance, the review should recognize that the forest carbon cycle is a dynamic, ongoing process that occurs across broad landscapes without a specific start and end date. Arbitrarily limiting areas and time frames when accounting for biomass carbon emissions, inevitably skews the forest carbon picture.”

The final biogenic emissions deferment rule can be seen at www.epa.gov/nsr.

—Anna Austin