Issue Date: January 17, 2011
EPA Defers Permits For Biomass Burning
Electricity generators that burn biomass, such as wood, will get a partial three-year reprieve from new regulatory requirements for large industrial facilities that emit greenhouse gases. This deferral applies to an EPA rule that took effect on Jan. 2 and applies primarily to the nation’s largest electric utilities and refineries. Under that rule, state-issued emissions permits are required for any new facility that releases greenhouse gases equivalent to more than 100,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year or when the modification of an existing facility boosts its annual emissions by 75,000 tons (C&EN, Jan. 10, page 7). EPA announced last week that CO2 from the burning of biomass would not count toward these totals for the next three years. This deferral also applies to new or modified ethanol production facilities. EPA says regulators are still determining whether CO2 releases from the burning of biomass or from biogenic processes such as fermentation should be tallied as an increase in emissions or not count at all when determining the need for permits.
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