The EPA Says “Bah, Humbug!”
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), however, plans to move full speed ahead with new regulations on January 2 that will likely cost many Americans their jobs before the New Year’s Eve party hats have even been put away.
In a nutshell, the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Tailoring Rule will treat emissions from renewable biomass energy the same as emissions from the use of fossil fuels, despite the fact that both policymakers and scientists have long considered biomass emissions to be carbon-neutral due to the life cycle of the forests from which biomass is produced.
This new rule and regulatory uncertainty could spell the end of the biomass energy industry by removing the carbon-neutral status of biomass and, consequently, the biggest incentive to continue investing in it. Recent estimates have shown that biomass generated from forest byproducts could supply as much as 15 percent of the nation’s renewable energy by 2021, yet this will likely never be realized if biomass producers are forced to comply with arbitrary, unfair and unnecessary regulations like those in the Tailoring Rule.
Unfortunately, the Tailoring Rule won’t just disincentivize the use of renewable biomass energy. It will also have widespread effects on our energy options, as well as jobs and the economy.