A fuel derived from felled trees may soon be eligible to receive a state subsidy. It would be considered a form of renewable energy.
By David Abel Globe Staff August 07, 2017
The Baker administration plans to designate a fuel derived from felling trees and clearing brush in forests as a form of renewable energy, a move that environmental advocates say would increase emissions and counter promises the governor made after President Trump pulled out of the Paris climate accord.
The proposed rules, which stem from a provision in a 2014 law supported by the logging industry, would provide financial incentives for the energy source known as woody biomass — wood chips and pellets made from tree trunks, branches, sawdust, and other plant matter.
Administration officials say biomass is part of an effort to diversify the state’s energy portfolio, and that over time, the fuel shouldn’t increase carbon emissions, especially when it’s used in place of fossil fuels.
But environmental advocates have opposed the rules, saying they would in fact increase carbon emissions, create more pollution in the form of soot, and lead to greater deforestation. Trees and plants grow by absorbing carbon dioxide; when they’re burned, they release the heat-trapping gas back into the atmosphere.