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December 26, 2012

EPA Amends Definition of Clean Cellulosic Biomass

Lynn L. Bergeson

On December 20, 2012, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson signed a final rule setting forth EPA’s final decision on the issues for which it granted reconsideration pertaining to its March 21, 2011, final rule entitled “Standards of Performance for New Stationary Sources and Emissions Guidelines for Existing Sources: Commercial and Industrial Solid Waste Incineration Units.” The December 20, 2012, rule makes technical corrections to the March 21, 2011, final rule, including clarifying the definition of clean cellulosic biomass (revisions are in red):

Clean cellulosic biomass means those residuals that are akin to traditional cellulosic biomass, including, but not limited to: agricultural and forest-derived biomass (e.g., green wood, forest thinnings, clean and unadulterated bark, sawdust, trim, tree harvesting residuals from logging and sawmill materials, hogged fuel, wood pellets, untreated wood pallets); urban wood (e.g., tree trimmings, stumps, and related forest-derived biomass from urban settings); corn stover and other biomass crops used specifically for the production of cellulosic biofuels (e.g., energy cane, other fast growing grasses, byproducts of ethanol natural fermentation processes); bagasse and other crop residues (e.g., peanut shells, vines, orchard trees, hulls, seeds, spent grains, cotton byproducts, corn and peanut production residues, rice milling and grain elevator operation residues); wood collected from forest fire clearance activities, trees and clean wood found in disaster debris, clean biomass from land clearing operations, and clean construction and demolition wood.  These fuels are not secondary materials or solid wastes unless discarded.  Clean biomass is biomass that does not contain contaminants at concentrations not normally associated with virgin biomass materials.

The amended definition will be effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.