Pulp and paper industry use of biomass considered carbon neutral: EPA

Pulp & Paper Canada
November 25, 2014
By Pulp & Paper Canada

Domtar Corporation announced its support of the position taken by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that carbon dioxide emissions from sustainably-managed sources of biomass should be considered "neutral" when accounting for greenhouse gas emissions.

The Nov. 19 memorandum from EPA's Acting Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation, Janet McCabe, recognizes that not all biomass is created equal when it comes to regulating greenhouse gas emissions, according to Domtar company officials. “Just because a resource is renewable does not automatically make it sustainable. Today's memorandum helps make that important point," said David Struhs, vice-president, corporate communications and sustainability.

Domtar also noted the importance of EPA recognizing the environmental and economic value of utilizing biomass feedstocks derived from waste materials. "EPA's direction on this issue promotes the idea of extracting as much value as possible from sustainably harvested biomass, which brings together economic and environmental interests," according to Struhs.

Domtar manufactures and markets a wide variety of products based on wood fibre, including communication papers, specialty and packaging papers and absorbent hygiene products, at facilities in Canada and the U.S.

American Forest & Paper Association president and CEO Donna Harman also issued a statement about the EPA release of its proposed Accounting Framework for Biogenic CO2 Emissions and policy memorandum.

“It appears that EPA has recognized our industry’s sustainable use of manufacturing residuals as carbon neutral. This is consistent with scientific studies showing the use of manufacturing residuals provides greenhouse gas reduction benefits equal to removing 35 million cars from the road when taking into account fossil fuel displacement and avoidance of additional methane emissions from disposal.

“Paper and wood products and the way our industry produces and uses biomass energy are all part of the sustainable carbon cycle.”

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