Groups call on Congress to ditch the biomass “carbon neutrality” rider

More than 100 local, state, and national organizations are urging House and Senate leaders to keep the biomass carbon neutrality rider and other environmental poison pills out of this year’s federal budget.

For each of the past six years, Congress has attached a policy rider to the annual federal spending bill directing federal agencies to treat burning forest wood for energy as “carbon neutral” and “renewable.” This anti-science, anti-environmental measure is one of numerous poison pill “legacy riders” that the environmental community has waged an annual battle to remove from the budget, year in, year out.

This year holds out the promise to be different. The House and Senate excluded a number of controversial legacy riders from their respective appropriations bills passed earlier this year. While the biomass rider still remained, both houses modified the language, requiring federal agencies to develop policies that “reflect the carbon benefits of forest bioenergy” rather than the “carbon neutrality of forest bioenergy.”

While the new language may be less objectionable, it still does not belong in a federal spending bill. Moreover, backroom deals may still result in the “carbon neutrality” language being reinserted. Consequently, we are urging Congress to remove the biomass energy provision altogether in the final FY 2023 appropriations package.  As we state in the letter, it is “inappropriate for Congress to legislate the science of biomass and climate change.”

View the letter to the House of Representatives here.

View the letter to the US Senate here.