For Immediate Release


Lisa Nurnberger,, 202-331-6959

EPA Falsely Deems Wood Burning for Electricity “Carbon Neutral”

Statement by Peter Frumhoff, Director of Science and Policy, Union of Concerned Scientists.

WASHINGTON - Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt made yet another anti-scientific decision based on politics yesterday when he announced that the EPA will treat burning wood as carbon neutral when biomass is used to produce energy, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). The organization noted that Pruitt’s decree could jumpstart a polluting energy industry.

Below is a statement by Peter Frumhoff, director of science and policy at UCS.

“Unfortunately, you can’t mandate something to be true that isn’t. Burning forest biomass to make electricity is not inherently carbon neutral, even if Mr. Pruitt declares it so. In fact, under some conditions burning trees releases as much or more carbon dioxide per unit of electricity as coal-fired power plants.

“It takes many decades to a century for a tree to grow large enough to remove the carbon dioxide that was put into the atmosphere by burning a similar tree. And not all trees reach maturity because of drought, fire and insect infestations. All the while, the added carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is trapping heat.

“Mr. Pruitt’s decree ignores science to favor another polluting energy industry. Today, the U.S. forest biomass industry is fairly small, with wood energy-fueled power plants struggling to compete with lower-cost power from natural gas, wind and solar. But once federal policies designed to reduce carbon pollution are enacted, the false assumption of wood energy as ‘carbon neutral’ will help make these power plants more cost-competitive to the detriment of our nation’s forests and the climate.”


FRIENDS: Help Us Fight

Independent journalism has become the last firewall against government and corporate lies. Yet, with frightening regularity, independent media sources are losing funding, closing down or being blacked out by Google and Facebook. Never before has independent media been more endangered. If you believe in Common Dreams, if you believe in people-powered independent media, please support us now and help us fight—with truths—against the lies that would smother our democracy. Please help keep Common Dreams alive and growing. Thank you. -- Craig Brown, Co-founder

Support Common DreamsSupport Common Dreams

The Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading science-based nonprofit working for a healthy environment and a safer world. UCS combines independent scientific research and citizen action to develop innovative, practical solutions and to secure responsible changes in government policy, corporate practices, and consumer choices.

Share This Article