Massachusetts Introduces New Biomass Regulations

Apr 30, 2012

The new regulations now up for a public comment for the next 30 days come after two years of study commissioned by the state Department of Energy and Resources. DOER Commissioner Mark Sylvia…

Biomass energy production comes from the generation of power by burning organic materials, most notably wood. Opponents of the practice say that unregulated biomass energy production can lead to overharvesting of timber, increased air pollution, and the excess release of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

Dr. Mary Booth, Director of the Partnership for Policy Integrity and researcher of clean energy production says that even if biomass energy production was carbon neutral, the process still produces air pollution.

The new regulations have provisions for protecting woodlands from improper harvest, soil protection, and call for a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over the next 20 years. DOER Commissioner Sylvia says that the regulations will help drive innovation in the Biomass energy industry.

The Sierra Club joined the Partnership for Policy Integrity in praising the State for introducing the new regulations. James McCaffery, director of the Massachusetts Chapter for the Sierra Club said that the regulations are the first of its kind and hopes that other states will follow the example set by the Commonwealth.

McCaffery emphasized the need for more investment in clean technologies like wind and solar. The construction and operation of large scale industrial wind turbines and solar facilities have been controversial among environmentalists and activists throughout the state, particularly Western Massachusetts.