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Lax EPA Regs Allow Biomass to Pollute More Than Coal

InsideClimate News : “A new study charges that government regulations for biomass plants are riddled with loopholes that allow wood-burning facilities to spew more toxic emissions in the air than coal-fired power plants.”  

“The findings are refueling a controversy over whether biomass should be treated as a renewable energy fuel and able to qualify for green incentives, or as a fossil fuel like coal.”  

“The study , conducted by the Massachusetts-based Partnership for Policy Integrity (PFPI) , found that biomass facilities release as much as 50 percent more carbon dioxide than coal plants per megawatt-hour, and as much as 100 percent more than other air pollutants.”  

The loopholes include: “EPA giving biomass plants a ‘free pass’ on limiting CO2 emissions; states not requiring operators to control short-term air emissions spikes at smaller facilities; and states not mandating extra monitoring at plants that burn wood waste, which emit more toxic pollutants.”  

Mary Booth, the study’s author says that “biomass should be regulated the same way as coal: ‘We’re talking about the same pollution, the same health effects, but biomass plants get to emit two and a half times as much.’”

Topics: wonk-wire