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US senate recognises biomass as carbon neutral

21 Apr 2016 15:22 (+01:00 GMT)
US senate recognises biomass as carbon neutral

London, 21 April (Argus) — The US Senate voted to approve an energy bill yesterday with Republican senator for Maine Susan Collins' biomass amendment stipulating that US energy policy will reflect the carbon-neutrality of forest bioenergy and recognise biomass as a renewable energy source.

The bill specifies that forest biomass for energy production is recognised as carbon neutral provided it does not cause the conversion of forest to non-forest use.

The amendment will "help ensure that federal policies for the use of clean, renewable energy solutions are clear, simple, and consistently inclusive of renewable biomass energy," Collins said.

The Senate voted 85-12 in favour of the measure. The broad, bipartisan support for the bill improves the chances that Congress can enact its first major energy bill since 2007. The bill will now head to a conference committee, where congressional leaders will try to combine the bill with a more partisan version passed by Republicans in the US House of Representatives last year.

"If adopted in the final conferenced bill, this amendment would provide the much-needed certainty that will help our industry grow," Biomass Power Association chief executive Bob Cleaves said.

The US biomass industry has been seeking greater clarification on the role that biomass can play in future energy policy.