Forest Owners Again Tell EPA - Biomass Carbon Accounting Must be Practical

Submitted by: Phil Riebel 04/11/2012

The National Alliance of Forest Owners (NAFO) continues to urge the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Biogenic Carbon Emissions Panel to provide recommendations to the EPA that are scientifically sound, practical and reflect the carbon benefits of wood biomass energy.

WASHINGTON, DC, March 20, 2012 – The National Alliance of Forest Owners (NAFO) continues to urge the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Biogenic Carbon Emissions Panel to provide recommendations to the EPA that are scientifically sound, practical and reflect the carbon benefits of wood biomass energy. The Panel is conducting a peer review of EPA’s Accounting Framework for Biogenic CO2 Emissions from Stationary Sources. The EPA will use the Panel’s recommendations to assess its ongoing policy for the treatment of greenhouse gas emissions regulations from biomass.

“Last week President Obama reiterated his ‘all of the above’ energy strategy that encourages the expansion of renewable energy sources, like biomass. The most effective way to implement the President’s strategy is to develop a policy that is consistent with how biomass production and use really works both on the ground and in the marketplace. A critical task of the Panel is to develop science-based recommendations that reflect the real world to promote biomass as a viable alternative to fossil fuels,” said Dave Tenny, President and CEO of NAFO, who is speaking before the Panel this afternoon.

“As the Panel members look at alternatives, they should ask at every point along the way if their recommendations can actually be implemented within the modern forestry sector and fully disclose that to the EPA,” Tenny said. “Some of the concepts the Panel is considering involve extremely complex baselines and calculations that are speculative and very difficult and costly to apply. Others impose narrow limitations on timeframes and geographic areas within which carbon is measured. Such approaches can significantly distort what the atmosphere actually sees over time when wood is used for energy and may frustrate rather than inform sound policy.”

“Fortunately, the prevailing science supports a simple and straightforward approach to accounting for biomass carbon emissions that is practical to implement,” Tenny concluded.

NAFO filed detailed comments ahead of the Panel’s March 20 public meeting. NAFO’s comments urge the Panel to apply a national scale for accounting, a 100 year timeframe for measuring the climate impacts of bioenergy, and a baseline using well-established existing data. These comments add further detail to recommendations filed by NAFO on January 25, which identify ways to reduce the complexity of the accounting framework EPA originally presented to the Panel.

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NAFO is an organization of private forest owners committed to advancing federal policies that promote the economic and environmental benefits of privately-owned forests at the national level. NAFO membership encompasses nearly 80 million acres of private forestland in 47 states. Working forests in the U.S. support 2.5 million jobs. To see the full economic impact of America’s working forests, visit www.nafoalliance.org/economic-impact-report.