EPA defers biomass GHG permitting

2 Feb 2011

landfill gas system

The USEPA recently announced it was taking a three year pause in its previously announced requirement that biomass generators obtain Greenhouse Gas Air permits.

On January 2, 2011, air permitting requirements took effect for large GHG emitting industries building new facilities or making major modifications to existing ones.  As part of getting an air permit, such sources would have to implement energy efficiency measures or, where available, cost-effective technology to reduce their GHG emissions. This includes the nation’s largest GHG emitters, such as power plants and refineries. Emissions from small sources, such as farms and restaurants, are not covered by these GHG permitting requirements.

Until last month,  CO2 emissions from the combustion or decomposition of biologically based material would have been treated like coal, oil and gas burners and would have required a permit.  EPA hit “pause” to conduct a scientific analysis of the GHG effect of such combustion.  Sources covered by this decision include facilities that emit CO2 as a result of burning forest or agricultural products for energy, wastewater treatment and livestock management facilities, landfills and fermentation processes for ethanol production.

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