On July 14, the House of Representatives passed, on a vote of 231 to 196, the Fiscal Year 17 Interior Appropriations Bill (HR 5538), including terms FRA supports preventing EPA (or any agency) from regulating CO2 emissions from forest biomass-generated power.
The language is aimed to move beyond the complex procedures and delays the Administration’s Clean Power Plan indicates in authorizing forest biomass as a bioenergy feedstock. Although House members offered, and voted on, 179 amendments to the bill, there was no amendment to strike the “carbon neutrality of forest biomass” provision, and the bill passed with that language intact.
The Administration published a statement, prior to the vote, that it “strongly opposes” the comprehensive bill, pointing out over 30 provisions to which it objected, including the “carbon neutrality” provision. To advance forward, the House and Senate must meet in conference to reconcile their varying versions of the FY17 Interior Appropriations bills. The Senate proposal is currently awaiting floor action and also contains strong “forest biomass carbon neutrality” terms.
Despite the advances made in the House, Congress has now adjourned and will be in recess for the next 7 weeks. They are expected return in early September.
Most observers believe that a final reconciliation will not occur until after the November 8 election, probably in the form of an Appropriations Omnibus bill, combining multiple bills into a comprehensive package, to make a Presidential veto less likely.
This update was originally published by Forest Resources Association on July 14, 2016. Click here for more information →