EPA defers regulation of CO2 emissions from biomass

The US Environmental Protection Agency has published a proposed rule to defer regulation of CO2 emissions from biomass under certain provisions of the Clean Air Act (Federal Register Vol. 76, No. 54, pp. 15249-15266; March 21, 2011). Comments on the proposal must be received on or before May 5, 2011.

 According to EPA, “This action proposes to defer for a period of three (3) years the consideration of CO2 emissions from bioenergy and other biogenic sources (hereinafter referred to as “biogenic CO2 emissions”) when determining whether a stationary source meets the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and Title V applicability thresholds, including those for the application of Best Available Control Technology (BACT). Stationary sources that combust biomass and construct or modify during the deferral period will avoid the application of PSD to the biogenic CO2 emissions resulting from those actions. This deferral applies only to CO2 emissions and does not affect non-GHG pollutants or other greenhouse gases (GHGs) (e.g., methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O)) emitted from the combustion of biomass fuel. Also, this does not affect any other EPA programs that pertain to stationary sources, such as New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) or the GHG Reporting Program.”

During the three-year deferral period, “EPA will be conducting a detailed examination of the science associated with biogenic CO2 emissions from stationary sources. This examination will include discussion with partners and scientists both inside and outside the federal government, as well as engagement with an independent scientific panel to consider technical issues that the Agency must resolve in order to account for biogenic CO2 emissions in ways that are scientifically sound and also manageable in practice.” 

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