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EPA's Biomass Position Treats Wood as Carbon-Neutral Fuel

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EPA Twitter
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The Environmental Protection Agency says it will treat wood fuels from managed forests as carbon-neutral. It could give New Hampshire's timber industry some long-term certainty.

Charlie Niebling has worked around the Granite State's forest products industry for decades. He says scientists have never agreed on if biomass fuels, like wood chips, offset more carbon than they produce. 

 

Niebling thinks biomass can have a net carbon benefit if it's harvested from a well-managed forest and burned efficiently. 

 

And he says New Hampshire already treats biomass as carbon-neutral, but the EPA's new policy could help the national industry compete with natural gas and other fuels long-term. And he says that means forests will remain undeveloped.

 

"Providing land owners with markets for low-grade wood has important and profound environmental implications, mostly positive."

 

Still, Niebling expects the EPA's shift on biomass will face legal challenges.

 

Annie has covered the environment, energy, climate change and the Seacoast region for NHPR since 2017. She leads the newsroom's climate reporting project, By Degrees.

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