[NEWS] Update on Carbon Neutral Biomass Amendments
– July 16, 2016, BTEC
On July 14, the House of Representatives passed, on a vote of 231 to 196, the FY17 Interior Appropriations Bill (HR 5538). As we have noted, the measure includes language preventing EPA or other federal departments or agencies from regulating CO2 emissions from forest bioenergy. If enacted, the provision would essentially remove the barriers embedded in the Clean Power Plan for states to use biomass as a compliance pathway. Although 179 amendments were offered on the bill during floor consideration, there was no amendment to strike the “carbon neutrality of forest biomass” provision and the bill passed with that language intact.
Last week, the Senate voted 84-3 to proceed to a conference committee on negotiating energy bills that both chambers passed this spring. The Senate conferees are: Senators Murkowski (R-AK), Barrasso (R-WY), Risch (R-ID), Cornyn (R-TX), Cantwell (D-WA), Wyden (D-OR), and Sanders (I-VT). Congressional staff will be working over the August recess to resolve differences between the House-passed and Senate-passed bills. The goal is to have a compromise package prepared before the November election, but the reality is that timeline may slip into later November or December.