The EPA has announced greenhouse gas permitting requirements for biomass feedstocks are at least three years away.

Following that news, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack released the following statement:

“I strongly support EPA’s announcement that it is starting an expedited rulemaking so that it can defer for three years greenhouse gas permitting requirements for biomass and that it is also undertaking a scientific assessment of how emissions from biomass should be treated under the Clean Air Act.

“America’s forest owners, farmers and ranchers can play a crucial role in providing renewable energy from wood, switchgrass and other agricultural products. Homegrown energy can provide jobs in rural America while reducing greenhouse gases. Markets for woody biomass in particular can be especially important in allowing the U.S. Forest Service and other landowners to reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfire while restoring more natural conditions in our forests.

“EPA’s action will provide the agency with the time it needs to ensure that greenhouse gas policies properly account for the emissions and carbon sequestration associated with biomass. In many cases, energy produced from biomass will provide significant reductions of greenhouse gases relative to fossil fuels. USDA looks forward to working with EPA in ensuring that (the Obama) administration’s policies use the best science and spur innovation and job creation in the renewable energy sector.”