Today, the U.S. EPA released the long awaited carbon accounting framework for biomass. This proposed framework will ultimately determine how, or if, carbon emissions from biomass combustion will be treated under various Clean Air Act programs and requirements.
On cursory review, the documents released today acknowledge that biomass residuals, like sawdust produced in our hardwood mills, will be considered a carbon neutral fuel source. This is a very positive step.
As we all know, sawdust generated at our mills is used either to heat and power our facilities or converted into pellets to be used to heat homes and businesses across the country and the globe. Without these secondary uses, this material would be destined for landfills, degrade and ultimately release carbon without capturing valuable energy. Converting saw mill residuals into affordable, locally produced, carbon neutral fuel is a triple win for consumers, jobs and the environment.
The Hardwood Federation is now evaluating the larger framework document that was released. Upon initial review, it seems to take a fairly complicated approach to determining the carbon emissions profile of various biomass feedstocks. However, it is a lengthy document and will take some time to evaluate. They will continue working with their forest product association allies in conducting an in-depth analysis and look forward to participating in the public comment process.