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EPA Issues Guidance on Biogenic Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Stationary Emission Sources

Posted Friday, December 12th, 2014

On November 19, 2014, as part of its climate strategy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made several announcements related to the regulation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emission from the use of biogenic fuels.   First, EPA issued an updated, draft framework for determining the net atmospheric GHG emissions from the use of biomass and other biogenic fuels at stationary sources such as power plants.  Under the draft framework, EPA concludes that the use of waste-derived feedstocks and certain forest-derived industrial byproducts are likely to contribute minimal or no net atmospheric GHG emissions.   EPA issued this updated framework for additional review and comment by EPA’s Science Advisory Board and by the public, but has not set a formal comment deadline.

Second, relying on this finding, EPA also addressed the treatment of GHG emissions from biogenic fuels under its recently proposed “Clean Power Plan” to regulate GHG emissions from existing electrical power plants.  In particular, EPA has indicated that it will look favorably on state plans implementing the Clean Power Plan that incorporate the use of waste-derived and forest-derived industrial byproduct feedstocks as well as sustainably-derived agricultural and forest-derived fuels to meet a state’s greenhouse gas emission goals.  EPA expects to provide further information and examples of biomass sustainability programs for consideration in developing and reviewing these state implementation plans.

Last, EPA announced it will be revising its prevention of significant deterioration (PSD) rules to exempt from best available control technology (BACT) review GHG emissions resulting from the use of either waste-derived feedstocks or sustainably-derived, non-waste biogenic forest and agricultural feedstocks.  EPA indicated that all other biogenic fuels are proposed to remain subject to BACT review for GHG emissions.  These proposed revisions will be subject to future notice-and-comment rulemaking.    EPA also indicated it would be providing additional agency guidance for proposed sources that will use biogenic feedstocks and are currently undergoing BACT review.

Further announcements on these topics are expected from EPA, but no certain dates have been announced.

Please contact Doug Roberts for further information.

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