On March 11, 2011, EPA proposed a new rule to defer, for a period of three years, greenhouse gas (“GHG”) permitting requirements for CO2 emissions from biogenic sources.  The proposed rule would remove from consideration CO2 emissions from bioenergy and other biogenic sources when determining whether a stationary source meets the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (“PSD”) and Title V applicability thresholds, including those for the application of Best Available Control Technology (“BACT”).

EPA is offering the biogenic CO2 deferral rule as part of the process of granting a Petition for Reconsideration filed by the National Alliance of Forest Owners on August 3, 2010 concerning the PSD program and Title V GHG Tailoring Rule.  Stationary sources that combust biomass and construct or modify during the three year deferral period will avoid application of PSD to biogenic CO2 emissions resulting from those actions.  The deferral applies only to CO2 emissions and not other biogenic emissions; it also does not affect the GHG Reporting Program, New Source Performance Standards, or any other EPA stationary source programs besides PSD and Title V.

EPA also is making available an interim guidance document until finalization of the new rule, “guidance for determining best available control technology for reducing carbon dioxide emissions from bioenergy production period.”  The document is intended to assist permitting authorities in establishment of a basis for “concluding that BACT for stationary sources is the combustion of biomass fuels by itself.”

EPA will accept public comments on the proposed rule for a period of forty-five days after publication.  It will then hold a public hearing in Washington D.C.