BIO Applauds EPA Decision to Defer Greenhouse Gas Permitting Requirement for Biomass Energy Facilities

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The proper use of renewable biomass can recycle atmospheric carbon and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions while still providing the energy and transportation fuels necessary for U.S. economic growth. The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) today welcomed the decision by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to defer application of CO2 emission permitting to biomass facilities while further studying the lifecycle emissions profile of biogenic carbon.

Brent Erickson, executive vice president of BIO’s Industrial & Environmental Section, stated, “Because sustainably produced renewable biomass can recycle atmospheric carbon and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, it should not be regulated under the same standard as fossil fuels.

“Important national objectives are served by increased usage of biofuels, biochemicals and bioproducts that use renewable biomass in substitution for fossil resources, which permanently and irreversibly increase concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere. The use of biofuels and biobased products can reduce dependence on imported petroleum, create new markets for sustainably grown crops, improve land utilization, and reduce concentrations of GHG emissions in the atmosphere.

“Federal policy should go further and incentivize technologies, such as biotechnology, that make use of renewable biomass and that make manufacturing and industry more energy efficient. The biotechnology industry looks forward to working with the EPA to establish a scientifically sound method for measuring the greenhouse gas benefits of renewable biomass and the application of best technologies for greenhouse gas reductions.”

Converting biomass into biofuels, energy, and chemicals has the potential to generate upwards of $230 billion to the global economy by 2020, according to the World Economic Forum. A recent report by BIO, U.S. Economic Impact of Advanced Biofuels Production, projects that development of advanced biorefineries could create tens of thousands of jobs over the next few years and hundreds of thousands by 2030, contributing more than $140 billion in economic growth. The study also shows that advanced biofuel production could save a total of $350 billion in oil imports between now and 2022. Further, BIO’s white paper, Biobased Chemicals and Products: A New Driver of U.S. Economic Development and Green Jobs, shows that projected growth in the biobased chemicals and plastics industry, which are also produced in advanced biorefineries, can create thousands more jobs. 

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