On Nov. 1, leaders of the U.S. EPA, UDSA and U.S. Department of Energy sent a letter Congress describing the agencies’ work to ensure consistent federal policy on forest biomass energy and promote policies that encourage the treatment of biomass as a carbon-neutral energy solution.
The letter, delivered to the House and Senate Committee on Appropriations, references the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018, or H.R. 1625, which was signed into law by President Trump on March 23. The law included congressional direction and emphasis on the importance of the U.S. forest sector to the energy needs of the country. In the letter, Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, and Energy Secretary Rick Perry confirm their agencies will work collaboratively to meet the directives laid out by H.R. 1625.
Within H.R. 1625, Congress directed EPA, USDA and DOE to ensure that federal policy related to forest biomass is consistent across all federal departments and agencies, and recognizes the full benefits of the use of forest biomass for energy, conservation, and responsible forest management. It also directed the agencies to establish clear and simple policies for the use of forest biomass as an energy solution, including policies that reflect the carbon-neutrality of forest bioenergy and recognize biomass as a renewable energy source, provided its use for energy production does not cause conversion of forests to non-forest use. The law also encourages private investment throughout the forest biomass supply chain, encourages forest management to improve forest health and recognizes state initiatives to produce and use forest biomass.