Forestry, Paper Industries Prevail on Biomass in Omnibus Draft

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By Dean Scott

Emissions from forest biomass would continue to be treated as carbon-neutral and the EPA would be barred from regulating lead in bullets and fishing tackle under the draft omnibus spending bill, congressional aides told Bloomberg Environment.

Both the ammunition and forest biomass regulatory provisions would be retained from previous spending measures.

The biomass language would shield facilities that burn wood and other organic matter from greenhouse gas regulation. The forestry and paper industries have long sought to have biomass treated as carbon neutral, arguing that the decaying plant matter would eventually release its trapped greenhouse gas emissions.

The language on ammunition and fishing tackle is meant to prevent the EPA from regulating toxic lead in ammunition, ammunition components, or fishing tackle under the Toxic Substances Control Act or other laws.

The Obama administration had banned the use of lead ammunition and fishing tackle used on federal lands and waters over objections from hunters and fishermen.

House and Senate appropriators hope to file the text March 21 of the fiscal year 2018 omnibus measure, to provide more than $1 trillion in domestic and defense spending through Sept. 30.

It must be signed into law by midnight Friday to avoid a government shutdown.

It’s unclear whether two other high-profile issues will be kept in the bill.

Democrats have fought to keep out language that would give the EPA more authority to roll back an Obama-era Clean Water Act rule that expanded agency jurisdiction over certain waterways and a rider expressly prohibiting the EPA and other regulatory agencies from taking into account the costs of carbon emissions before regulating.

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