EPA Misses the Forest for the Trees: Dogwood Alliance statement on EPA’s Proposed Framework for Assessing Biogenic CO2 Emissions from Stationary Sources
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has failed to protect the forests, communities and climate with its new proposed framework for regulating biogenic carbon emissions from stationary sources. They have not followed the recommendations of their own Scientific Advisory Board as well as the mounting government and academic research that burning trees for electricity is going to increase carbon emissions and accelerate climate change.
On one hand, the EPA recognizes “the critical role that America’s forests play in addressing carbon pollution in the US,” while, on the other hand, they give states and companies a free pass to burn at will with little to no oversight or guidance.
Punting sustainability standards to the states is a race to the bottom.
This is especially true in a region where the forest industry is deeply entrenched and holds a lot of power over state agencies and governments like the Southern US. The federal government should be setting the guidelines on sustainability – air and GHG emissions know no borders.
We are at a critical moment in time when we should be working to increase protection and conservation of forests to store and sequester more carbon and to provide valuable protection against the impacts of climate change like storm surge. Rather than showing bold leadership based on the emerging scientific consensus and stopping the wholesale burning of High Conservation Value and Endangered Forests based on faulty carbon accounting, the EPA is giving a free pass to burn our forests.
The EPA should have followed the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change’s lead who found that burning anything but forest residuals under 4” in diameter had detrimental impacts on the climate. Now is not the time to increase the destruction of our forests and exacerbate climate change. Instead we should protect them and increase investment in truly renewable energy like wind, solar and conservation and efficiency. Additionally, over 90 US scientists sent a letter to the EPA in June calling on the agency to follow the best available and most rigorous science in crafting its new policy, which they have clearly failed to do.
We don’t have any time to waste. Only by accurately measuring the actual air emissions from burning wood for energy can we end up with good policy to address our climate crisis.
Dogwood Alliance will continue to dig into the brand new proposal and provide more substantive feedback, staying full engaged with the EPA throughout the public comment period, including our members and allies to ensure these regulations gain some teeth to protect our forests, communities and climate rather than speed up their demise.