|Action||Reduce and Cap Carbon Dioxide from Fossil Fuel Fired Electric Power Generating Facilities (Rev. C17)|
|Comment Period||Ends 3/6/2019|
Opposing Reproposed Regulation for Emission Trading Program [9 VAC5-140] as Written.
March 5, 2019
David K. Paylor, Director, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
Michael G. Dowd, Director, Air and Renewable Energy Division
Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
1111 E. Main Street, Suite 1400
Richmond, VA 23219
Re: Virginia Agribusiness Council Comments Opposing Reproposed Regulation for Emission Trading Program [9 VAC5-140] as Written.
Dear Director Paylor and Director Dowd:
The Virginia Agribusiness Council (VAC) appreciates this opportunity to provide comments to the Air Pollution Board regarding the Commonwealth of Virginia’s reproposed Regulation for Emissions Trading (9 VAC 5 – 140) for the CO2 Budget Trading Program (the “regulation”) and its treatment of biogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from forest biomass. VAC had previously submitted comments on April 6, 2018 and we renew our opposition to the regulation without the inclusion of language clarifying that the rule apply to only greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel combustion, and that new and existing industrial facilities are clearly exempt from allowance obligations.
The Virginia Agribusiness Council is a non-profit member organization committed to representing the agriculture and forestry industries in the Commonwealth with a unified voice through effective government relations efforts. As the leading industry in the Commonwealth, our agriculture and forestry industries combined contribute $91 billion to Virginia’s economy, including supporting 442,200 jobs. To remain internationally competitive and lead the world in achieving the productivity and efficiency gains required to meet the food, fiber and energy demands and environmental challenges of the twenty-first century, U.S. agriculture and forestry must stay on the cutting edge of technology and utilize all resources in a sustainable environmentally conscious manner. Therefore, Virginia Agribusiness Council membership has a strong interest in forest derived biomass being considered carbon neutral.
We ask that you restore the language clarifying that CO2 emissions from CO2 budget units that do not exclusively combust fossil fuels are exempt from the proposed rule. VAC has consistently opposed any regulation that does not treat biomass as carbon-neutral, regardless of whether or not it is co-fired with fossil fuels.
A study by NCASI found that there are substantial greenhouse gas reduction benefits in using forest products manufacturing residuals for energy in the pulp, paper, packaging and wood products industry. Accounting for fossil fuel displacement and avoided emissions associated with disposal, the use of biomass residuals each year avoids the emission of approximately 181 million metric tons of CO2. Indeed, just last month, the U.S. Congress enacted, and the President signed appropriations legislation reaffirming that federal regulatory policy should reflect the carbon neutrality of forest-based renewable biomass. Therefore, we ask that the Air Pollution Board restore the clarifying language for biomass emissions and ensure there is a strong exemption for existing industrial facilities.
We appreciate your careful consideration of these comments and we look forward to continuing our work with DEQ and the Air Pollution Board. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Council at firstname.lastname@example.org.