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Scientists ask EPA to create scientifically strong pollution standards for biomass energy

MILLBROOK – Cary Institute for Ecosystem Studies President Dr. William Schlesinger is among 91 scientists nationwide who have signed a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency calling on the agency to drat new scientifically-sound rules to curb carbon emissions from biomass-fueled power plants.

The letter comes as the EPA concludes a three-year evaluation period to more accurately determine the carbon emissions impacts of using biomass fuels such as whole trees and other plant materials in large-scale electricity generation.

“The group of scientists that signed the letter are concerned that a lot of biomass is being harvested in the United States to substitute for coal and on the surface, that seems like a good idea, but if you look within certain types of biomass, it actually causes more carbon dioxide to be released in the atmosphere rather than less,” Schlesinger said.

Schlesinger said the scientists’ letter asks the EPA to institute “some very judicious and careful accounting systems to make sure biomass being harvested is really a benefit.”