EPA's Biomass Position Treats Wood as Carbon-Neutral Fuel

Apr 24, 2018

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, seen here speaking in New Hampshire in February of 2018.
Credit EPA Twitter

The Environmental Protection Agency says it will treat wood fuels from managed forests as carbon-neutral. It could give New Hampshire's timber industry some long-term certainty.

Charlie Niebling has worked around the Granite State's forest products industry for decades. He says scientists have never agreed on if biomass fuels, like wood chips, offset more carbon than they produce. 

 

Niebling thinks biomass can have a net carbon benefit if it's harvested from a well-managed forest and burned efficiently. 

 

And he says New Hampshire already treats biomass as carbon-neutral, but the EPA's new policy could help the national industry compete with natural gas and other fuels long-term. And he says that means forests will remain undeveloped.

 

"Providing land owners with markets for low-grade wood has important and profound environmental implications, mostly positive."

 

Still, Niebling expects the EPA's shift on biomass will face legal challenges.