Legislation Would Address Harmful Bioenergy Emissions, Air Pollution

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A new bill would address the disproportionate carbon pollution and other toxic emissions caused by using forest biomass as an energy source. The Forest Biomass Emissions Act, introduced by U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.), would require the Environmental Protection Agency to take a full accounting of the greenhouse gas harms and community impacts of forest biomass. 

 The bill addresses bioenergy in the form of trees that are processed into wood pellets and burned as an energy source. A recent study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the National Wildlife Federation found wood pellet manufacturing plants tend to underreport emissions, and facilities generating electricity from biomass can emit more pollutants per unit of energy generated than fossil fuels.

“Communities have long raised concerns about the impact of biomass facilities, which have been disproportionately sited in Black and Brown communities, and are far costlier to human health and emissions than has been reported,” said Mustafa Santiago Ali, executive vice president for the National Wildlife Federation. “This legislation provides transparency and a full accounting of these impacts and will help ensure that inefficient electricity generation from woody biomass doesn't harm overburdened communities. We are grateful to Senator Booker for ensuring that we do not simply replace one dangerous fuel source with another.” 

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