Groups Submit Letter to DOE on Tax Credit Funding for Woody Biomass

Environmental Groups Submit Letter to Department of Energy on Preventing IRA-Boosted Tax Credit from Subsidizing Wood Pellet Mills

WASHINGTON – Today, over 20 groups sent a letter to the Biden administration, urging them to prevent Enviva and other woody biomass interests from co-opting the 48C Qualifying Advanced Energy Project Credit. The letter follows news that Enviva, the world’s largest wood pellet producer, is seeking the tax credit for new wood pellet mills in Alabama and Mississippi.

The 48C tax credit received a $10 billion boost in the Inflation Reduction Act and is intended to speed investment in projects that transition the energy and manufacturing sectors away from dirty energy. The Department of Energy must approve and rank applicants based on criteria like greenhouse gas and other pollution reduction. The letter urges the Biden Administration to acknowledge that woody biomass is a massive failure on these fronts.

“The implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act is a major climate and justice test for the Biden Administration,” said Sarah Lutz, Climate Campaigner at Friends of the Earth US. “Destroying our forests and burning wood for energy kneecaps our ability to address the climate crisis and embeds environmental injustice in communities. We cannot afford to keep subsidizing these harms, especially not with funding intended to reduce our reliance on dirty energy.”

“There is nothing innovative or advanced about chopping down trees and grinding them up into wood pellets to be burned for energy,” said Laura Haight, US Policy Director at Partnership for Policy Integrity. “The Biden Administration must do everything it can to discourage climate-harming biomass energy.”

“If the Biden Administration wants to maintain a positive record on climate and environmental justice they must keep the dirty biomass industry from co-opting tax credits, like 48C, meant to address the climate crisis.” said Adam Colette, Programs Director at Dogwood Alliance. 

“The science is clear and conclusive: burning wood pellets for electricity is a dirty source of energy, which damages the climate and harms communities,” said Sami Yassa, Senior Scientist with NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). “Burning wood pellet fuel in a power plant produces even more carbon pollution at the smokestack than coal. Industrial wood pellet manufacturing plants like the ones Enviva is proposing spew extreme levels of toxic pollution that burdens nearby communities. Allowing them to claim clean energy tax credits would be a double step backwards; it would boost an industry that is accelerating climate change and harming the health of communities while robbing critical funding from energy solutions that are actually clean.”

COMMUNICATIONS CONTACT: Erika Seiber, [email protected]

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