Several environmental groups have challenged an EPA rule that exempts for three years carbon dioxide emissions from facilities that burn biomass from the Greenhouse Gas Tailoring Rule greenhouse gas (GHG ) emissions permit requirements. Ctr. for Biological Diversity v. EPA, No. N/A (D.C. Cir. filed 8/15/11).

The rule, which was issued July 20, 2011, exempts facilities that burn wood, various crop residues, grass, and other biomass from prevention of significant deterioration (PS) and Title V operating permit requirements for their GHG emissions. 76 Fed. Reg. 43,490. EPA granted the three-year exemption in response to a petition from the National Alliance of Forest Owners; it was intended to give EPA time to conduct further studies of biomass GHG emissions.  

Petitioners allege that the exemption will encourage the development of more facilities that burn wood and grasses without carbon dioxide emission controls. They also argue that demand for biomass fuel could lead producers to cut down more forests. The same petitioners filed an April 2011 challenge in the D.C. Circuit to EPA’s decision granting the National Alliance of Forest Owners’ petition.