The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Kevin Bundy, (415) 572-2527 or

Massachusetts Senators Ask EPA for Timeout on Climate-damaging Bioenergy

Ed Markey, Elizabeth Warren Note Wood-burning Power Plants’ Carbon Pollution


Massachusetts Senators Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren today called on the Environmental Protection Agency to impose a moratorium on states' use of bioenergy to comply with the agency's proposed "Clean Power Plan."

Today's letter notes that large-scale burning of wood from forests and other sources to make electricity generates extremely high levels of carbon dioxide. But the EPA has signaled it may allow states to ignore bioenergy's high carbon emissions in planning for compliance with the Clean Power Plan, which sets statewide targets for carbon pollution from power plants.

"As strong supporters of the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan," the senators say in the letter, "we write to express our concern that any decision by EPA to treat bioenergy as having zero emissions under the Plan could undermine the Plan's intended purpose of reducing power sector carbon emissions."

Senators Warren and Markey are asking the agency to finish an ongoing scientific review of the climate consequences of bioenergy before allowing states to include biomass-fueled generation in compliance plans. "It is critical that EPA get the accounting right before states commit to measures that could aggravate rather than alleviate climate concerns," the letter concludes.

"Senators Markey and Warren are raising critically important questions about the massive carbon pollution emitted by burning trees for electricity," said Kevin Bundy, a senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. "The EPA needs to take a timeout on bioenergy and complete its ongoing scientific process before even thinking about letting dirty, inefficient, wood-fueled electricity into the Clean Power Plan."

The senators' letter is available here.

At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature — to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters and climate that species need to survive.

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