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Statement

Release No. 0008.11
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USDA Office of Communications (202) 720-4623

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Statement from Agriculture Secretary Vilsack on EPA Biomass Announcement

WASHINGTON, January 12, 2011 - Today, Agriculture Secretary Vilsack issued the following statement on EPA's announcement on greenhouse gas permitting requirements for biomass:

"I strongly support EPA's announcement today 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, switch grass 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 US Forest Service and other landowners to reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfire while restoring more natural conditions in our forests.

"EPA's action today 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 this Administration's policies use the best science and spur innovation and job creation in the renewable energy sector."