NAFO Statement: Supreme Court Decision in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA

Submitted by: Phil Riebel 06/24/2014

In light of the recent Supreme Court decision, the National Alliance of Forest Owners (NAFO) calls for the US EPA to implement a clear policy to affirm that biomass is a low-carbon renewable energy solution. 

The following statement was issued by Dave Tenny, NAFO President & CEO, in response to today’s 5-4 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA.

“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court partially fixes the problem in the Tailoring Rule by concluding that GHG emissions—including biomass carbon emissions—don't trigger onerous Clean Air Act PSD permits.  However, because facilities must consider GHG emissions when emissions of other pollutants trigger permits, we need now more than ever to adopt a carbon accounting framework that clarifies once and for all carbon emissions are de minimis and should not be subject to PSD permitting requirements under any circumstances.  

“A clear, simple and implementable policy affirming that biomass is a low-carbon renewable energy solution will help states achieve the carbon emissions reductions sought by EPA under both the Tailoring Rule and any regulations for existing and new power facilities. It will also provide certainty for businesses and forest owners who have been looking for a clear, positive signal from the Administration on biomass.

“We are now half way to where we need to be.  In order for wood biomass to make its full contribution as a low carbon renewable energy source, the EPA must now adopt an accounting framework that sends a clear and unambiguous signal that biomass is part of the solution.  While we appreciate the Administration's positive messages on biomass, what we really need is a policy."

About NAFO:  NAFO is an organization representing private forest owners and managers committed to advancing national policies that promote the economic and environmental benefits of privately-owned working forests. NAFO membership encompasses more than 80 million acres of private forestland in 47 states, and working forests in the U.S. support 2.4 million jobs.   NAFO seeks common sense policy solutions to sustain the ecological, economic and social values of forests and to assure an abundance of healthy and productive forest resources for present and future generations.

Source: NAFO News Release, June 23, 2014