On June 30, Georgia Senators Johnny Isakson and David Perdue signed on to a strong bipartisan letter with 44 other Senators urging the Obama Administration to recognize forest biomass as carbon neutral in forthcoming policy.
The letter – supported by 26 republicans and 18 democrats – was sent to U. S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy, Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) led the effort to encourage the department heads to recognize the carbon benefits of forest biomass and develop policies that align with the evidence supporting forest biomass.
“The carbon benefits of forest biomass are well documented by forestry science experts and further supported by government data. The strong bipartisan support in this letter sends a strong signal that it’s time for our Federal policy to align with the sheer weight of evidence supporting forest biomass and provide a clear and simple approach to recognizing the carbon benefits biomass provides,” said Dave Tenny, president and CEO of the National Alliance of Forest Owners.
The noted carbon benefits of forest biomass are well established:
- The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Energy Information Administration recognizes the carbon benefits.
- On Nov. 6, 2014, one hundred nationally recognized forest scientists, representing 80 universities, sent a letter to EPA stating the long-term carbon benefits of forest bioenergy. This group weighed a comprehensive synthesis of the best peer-reviewed science and affirmed the carbon benefits of biomass.
- Strong markets have kept forests as forests. Based on regularly collected USDA data, U.S. timberlands are growing at more than twice the rate of harvests. The total volume of trees growing in U.S. forests has increased 50% in the past 60 years.
- EPA data show that carbon storage in U.S. forests continues to increase, offsetting about 15% of total U.S. CO2 emissions annually.
“We look forward to our ongoing work with Congress and the Administration to help set a clear and simple policy providing forest owners the certainty they need to continue providing carbon and other environmental benefits to society for the long term,” Tenny said.
Learn more about the carbon neutrality of forest biomass at the resources listed below:
- Biomass 101:
- American Forest & Paper Association: