Environment

Words Have No Meaning at the EPA

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Burning wood and other biomass quite literally means funneling carbon into the atmosphere by burning it in its most raw form, but Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Scott Pruitt has decided that burning wood is "carbon neutral."

Pruitt made the announcement yesterday during a meeting with lobbyists from the forest industry.

The announcement, made by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt during a meeting with Georgia forestry leaders, signals an administrative policy shift that will treat all burning of biomass as carbon-neutral "when used for energy production at stationary sources," according to an EPA statement.

In practical terms, this means burning biomass for energy will be treated the same as wind and solar energy even though neither wind or solar involve funneling carbon back into the atmosphere.

The decision is based on the idea that you can simply plant another tree to replace the one you burned, which is technically true, but it takes decades for a tree to grow and suck as much carbon out of the atmosphere as you release by burning a tree. Extra carbon pumped into the atmosphere in the short term won't be removed through natural processes until it's too late.

  • muselet

    At least Scott Pruitt didn’t declare coal to be carbon-neutral.

    That’s on the agenda for next week.

    –alopecia

  • Aynwrong

    Years ago I was listening to Limbaugh ranting about how cutting funding for food stamps wouldn’t have a negative impact on people who need food stamps because we never tried it before and because people simply don’t go hungry in the United States.

    Conservatives have believed in magical thinking for a very long time.

    • Christopher Foxx

      Conservatives haven’t believed in ANY kind of thinking for a very long time.

  • Why the hell is Pruitt allowed to continue functioning when he is subject to at least ten different investigations into illegal behavior? Can’t someone file for an injunction that he not be allowed to make any more “pronouncements” until that is all settled?

    • Draxiar

      I think your sentiment could be applied to the majority of people in this pitiful excuse of an administration.

    • JMAshby

      Because so far only 3 Republicans in all of Congress are calling for him to resign, and Trump hasn’t done so yet.

      • I should have added /rhetorical

      • Badgerite

        They won’t either. He is doing the bidding of their rich corporate donor base. That is really all the gop cares about now. Ethics, Smethics. Pruitt is basically there to gut the EPA. To do what could not be done by legislation because there would be too much opposition in Congress. He has frozen out the scientific community at every turn.
        “Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt proposed a new rule Tuesday to overhaul the way science is used to write regulations at the agency, disqualifying huge amounts of peer-reviewed public health research and giving favor to industry funded studies.” From the Huffington Post.
        This new rule is the ‘brain child’ of Rep. Lamar Alexander of Texas and Sen. Mike Rounds of South Dakota who proposed this legislatively because of justified opposition could not get it through Congress.
        This is like expecting the tobacco companies to tell you smoking is bad for you. It is ridiculous to call it the Environmental Protection Agency anymore. Not with these people in charge it isn’t.