Forest Owners Urge EPA to Conduct Science Review Free of Policy Bias
Urge Science Review Panel to Consider National Carbon Accounting, New Information
WASHINGTON, Oct. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — National Alliance of Forest Owners President and CEO, Dave Tenny, issued the following statement regarding comments submitted yesterday to the EPA’s Science Advisory Board Review Panel, convened to conduct a science and technical review of carbon emissions from biomass energy production:
“We are pleased that the EPA has appropriately deferred its regulation that would have treated biomass carbon emissions the same as fossil fuels emissions under the PSD Tailoring Rule. Convening the review panel is an important next step to provide a sound basis in science for future policy decisions.
“At the same time, we are concerned that the agency has introduced policy bias into its review process that could unnecessarily limit the work of the scientists and predetermine the outcome. EPA has charged the science panel to review an accounting framework that does not allow for the exclusion of biomass emissions from PSD regulation based on a finding that they do not increase net carbon in the atmosphere. This suggests that such a finding from the panel would be unwelcome. Likewise, EPA’s proposed accounting framework requires that forest carbon be measured at a regional scale and within constrained time frames. This may prevent the panel from considering a full range of options for measuring forest carbon, including the national scale used by other nations throughout the world.
“We have seen in the past that placing arbitrary limitations on scientific review can skew results and distort policy. We urge the EPA to avoid that outcome here by making it clear that the review panel is empowered to conduct a complete and thorough review of the science free of up-front policy constraints. EPA can then use the completed review to fashion a reasonable policy. The process as it stands is backward.
“We further urge the review panel to consider new information developed since the EPA’s Call for Information in the summer of 2010. A significant body of peer reviewed studies and other information shows that, when measured at the appropriate scale, the carbon benefits of biomass energy compared to fossil fuels are significant and that using biomass for energy can greatly reduce net carbon in the atmosphere. This information confirms what most countries already recognize – that in order to get an accurate picture of the forest carbon cycle, you have to measure at the broadest possible scale, and the national scale makes the most sense. We are eager for the review panel to fully consider this and other information as they fulfill their charge.”
NAFO’s full comments to the panel can be found here.
The Biogenic Carbon Emissions Panel was established by the EPA to conduct a science and technical review of carbon emissions from biogenic energy sources. The Panel will hold its first meeting to accept public comments on October 25-27, 2011, and will conduct a series of additional public meetings over the next several months to develop its report. The Panel’s final report will be transmitted to the EPA Administrator following review by the full Science Advisory Board.
NAFO is an organization of private forest owners committed to advancing federal policies that promote the economic and environmental benefits of privately-owned forests at the national level. NAFO membership encompasses more than 79 million acres of private forestland in 47 states. Working forests in the U.S. support 2.5 million jobs. To see the full economic impact of America’s working forests, visit www.nafoalliance.org/economic-impact-report.
SOURCE National Alliance of Forest Owners