Tuesday, February 15, 2011

EPN Statement: Forest Carbon Counts

EPN Statement on EPA’s Important First Step to Measure Carbon Pollution of Biomass Energy Produced by the Forest Products Industry

Environmental Paper Network Director, Joshua Martin, issued the following statement regarding EPA’s decision to delay for three years the regulation of CO2 pollution from biomass energy under the Clean Air Act pending scientific study:

“The Environmental Paper Network (EPN) understands that a reliable, accurate and complete accounting of the carbon dioxide pollution from the use of forests for energy production and as fiber for paper products is critical to sound climate and energy policy and to advancing environmental progress in the pulp and paper industry.  The forest products industry is the leading producer and user in the United States of biomass energy and its associated pollution.  Due to the urgency of the climate crisis and the impact of this decision on the sustainability of our nation’s forest resources, we look forward to a scientifically rigorous analysis as the EPA undertakes a three-year delay to conduct its study on regulating carbon dioxide pollution from biomass energy.

“EPN applauds EPA’s previous interim determination on biomass energy in the development of its Tailoring and Tailpipe Rules.  This decision, which set up a separate study process for biomass sources, affirmed that there was ample evidence that biomass energy could not credibly be declared ‘carbon-neutral.’  Now, this three-year study of the scientific evidence will finally put to rest the dangerous myth that harvesting forests for energy and paper production is ‘carbon-neutral.’

“This decision on measuring the carbon dioxide pollution impacts from burning trees for energy is a critical priority for many local communities, for our nation’s forests, and the planet’s climate.  The central issue is proper accounting so that sound decisions can be made to safeguard the public interest and establish fair rules of the game for business.  These fair rules will stimulate and encourage stalled investment in technology in the paper industry to increase competitiveness and job creation in the global, low-carbon economy. 

“The Obama Administration’s EPA must utilize the best science and avoid politics and the hard lobbying that we have already seen from those with a special interest in perpetuating the 'biomass is carbon neutral' myth.  As EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has said publicly in the past, ‘Science must be the backbone of what EPA does. EPA's addressing of scientific decisions should reflect the expert judgment of the agency's career scientists and independent advisers.’

“The Environmental Paper Network stands ready help the public, business leaders, and conservation organizations provide scientific input to this study and to work with EPA through the process.”

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The Environmental Paper Network brings together a diverse coalition of environmental non-governmental organizations to accelerate environmental transformation in the pulp and paper industry.  Learn about the work of our members at www.environmentalpaper.org.

Media Contact:  Joshua Martin, 828-251-8558, Joshua@environmentalpaper.org

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