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Posted at 5:07 PM ET, 01/12/2011

EPA delays climate rules for biomass industry

By Juliet Eilperin

In another sign that the Environmental Protection Agency is moderating its climate policy, it announced Wednesday it would exempt the biomass industry from limits on greenhouse gas emissions for three years.

More than two dozen lawmakers had urged EPA to hold off on applying new rules aimed at curbing greenhouse gases from large emitters to facilities that burn wood and farm waste.

"We are working to find a way forward that is scientifically sound and manageable for both producers and consumers of biomass energy. In the coming years we will develop a commonsense approach that protects our environment and encourages the use of clean energy," EPA administrator Lisa P. Jackson said in a statement. "Renewable, homegrown power sources are essential to our energy future, and an important step to cutting the pollution responsible for climate change."

The move prompted praise from both some lawmakers and renewable energy proponents, along with criticism from several environmentalists.

The Renewable Fuels Association said that subjecting the biomass industry to greenhouse gas limits would "have been unnecessarily costly and burdensome for our industry," while Rep. Greg Walden, (R-Ore.) issued a statement saying, "The EPA was precariously close to enforcing new job-killing regulations, and with the urging of a bipartisan congressional effort, made the right decision in reversing course."

Some groups, like the Clean Air Task Force, tried to seek middle ground by praising the agency for conducting a more detailed scientific review of the matter.

"The science today, however, tells us that all biomass does not provide immediate greenhouse gas mitigation, and in fact some may have greater climate impacts than fossil fuels," said Ann Weeks, the group's senior counsel. "A precautionary approach to biomass in greenhouse gas permitting therefore is the only approach that makes sense, legally and technically, pending the outcome of the scientific review."

But Clean Air Watch's Frank O'Donnell said the decision to delay regulation "is another concession by EPA to its critics in Congress. Still unknown: will this reduce congressional attacks on EPA, or merely be blood in the water?"

By Juliet Eilperin  | January 12, 2011; 5:07 PM ET
 
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Comments

The EPA and Lisa P. Jackson are out to take over, tax and regulate all industry in America with Obama's endorsement and support.

Legislation was passed to authorize the head of the EPA to declare any gas a dangerous greenhouse gas and restrict its use.

The NorthEast is having its coldest winter in a quarter of a century and Europe is suffering the worst winter in over a hundred years. South America suffered a freeze so severe last year that it killed all the fish in Bolivia. Lisa P. Jackson is crazy.

Posted by: alance | January 12, 2011 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Interesting that the WAPO has a standing column on "Post Carbon." I suggest they also start one called "Post Lunar" devoted to the irrefutable fact that the moon is made of green cheese.

Posted by: Chippewa | January 13, 2011 6:39 AM | Report abuse

The ridiculous thing is that the EPA just assumes they have the right to regulate this.

Biomass is just a fancy name for wood. Every jurisdiction in the country has had ordinances about smoke abatement going back to colonial times.

Besides, isn't it the Interior Department's position that forest fires are good for biodiversity? Better have a high level conference at some expensive ski resort in the Rockies to hammer this out!

Posted by: corco02az | January 13, 2011 6:53 AM | Report abuse

there is no such thing as global warming. That's why the big government socialists had to change the name of their scam to climate change. It's all a fraud and a power grab.

Posted by: carlbatey | January 13, 2011 8:46 AM | Report abuse

there is no such thing as global warming. That's why the big government socialists had to change the name of their scam to climate change. It's all a fraud and a power grab.

Posted by: carlbatey | January 13, 2011 8:49 AM | Report abuse

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