U.S. Supreme Court Instructs EPA to Revise Approach to Regulating Stationary Source Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Today's Supreme Court decision confirms that EPA needs to determine the appropriate treatment of CO2 emissions from biomass. – American Forest & Paper Association.

June 23, 2014 (Press Release) - On behalf of the U.S. paper and wood products manufacturing industry, the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) is pleased that the U.S. Supreme Court sided with manufacturers in requiring the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to revise its flawed approach to regulating stationary source greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through the Clean Air Act (CAA).

"AF&PA was concerned that EPA's approach did not adequately reflect the realities facing U.S. paper and wood products manufacturers," said AF&PA President and CEO Donna Harman. "We operate in highly competitive global markets, and adding to the cumulative regulatory burden our industry already faces harms our ability to invest in forward-looking technologies for new, innovative, high-value products."

In 2010, EPA issued its GHG Tailoring Rule, in which the agency excluded smaller sources of CO2 (like churches and small businesses) from Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and Title V air permitting requirements. However, thousands of new and modified industrial and commercial facilities were still facing uncertain and lengthy pre-construction permitting for GHGs. The rule also failed — for the first time — to distinguish biogenic emissions from fossil fuel emissions and did not exclude biogenic CO2 from PSD and Title V permitting thresholds.

After AF&PA and others expressed concern over the potential far-reaching implications of this decision, EPA issued a three-year deferral of the permitting regulations for emissions of biogenic CO2 to allow for a scientific review of the carbon neutrality of biogenic emissions. Today's Supreme Court decision confirms that EPA needs to determine the appropriate treatment of CO2 emissions from biomass.

In September 2011, EPA issued a draft "Accounting Framework for Biogenic CO2 Emissions from Stationary Sources." Once finalized, the framework will clarify what biomass qualifies as carbon neutral and will inform subsequent permit issuance under the CAA.

"We are anxious for this framework to be completed, as the paper and wood products manufacturing industries produce, on average, about two-thirds of our energy from biomass," said Harman. "We believe the science supports recognition of the inherent carbon neutrality of manufacturing residuals for their GHG-reduction benefits and of biomass in general when growth exceeds harvest, and we hope that EPA will agree."

The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) serves to advance a sustainable U.S. pulp, paper, packaging, and wood products manufacturing industry through fact-based public policy and marketplace advocacy. AF&PA member companies make products essential for everyday life from renewable and recyclable resources and are committed to continuous improvement through the industry's sustainability initiative — Better Practices, Better Planet 2020.

The forest products industry accounts for approximately 4.5 percent of the total U.S. manufacturing GDP, manufactures approximately $200 billion in products annually, and employs nearly 900,000 men and women. The industry meets a payroll of approximately $50 billion annually and is among the top 10 manufacturing sector employers in 47 states. Visit AF&PA online at www.afandpa.org or follow us on Twitter @ForestandPaper.

SOURCE: American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA)