The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has denied a petition for reconsideration from the Biogenic CO2 Coalition to exempt certain agricultural-based biogenic emissions from the agency’s endangerment finding regarding aircraft emissions. In July 2016, the agency formally decreed that greenhouse gas emission causes or contributes to air pollution that may endanger public health and welfare. This finding sets in motion a requirement for the agency to follow with regulations of emissions of effected aircraft. The agency has been closely watching the proceedings at the International Civil Aviation Organization on a global CO2 standard.
The coalition this fall petitioned to exempt biogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from short-cycle annual herbaceous crops from the finding, stating its members are “greatly concerned that EPA’s arbitrary and illegal penalizing of agricultural biomass the same as fossil fuels will stifle the development of agricultural biomass and biproducts.” The organization argues that biogenic CO2 emissions are treated as the equivalent of fossil fuel emissions, but said that biogenic emissions should be looked upon as carbon neutral.
“The aircraft rule is arbitrary and capricious as it is unsupported by any scientific record or regulatory finding that would support treating crop-derived biogenic emissions the same as fossil fuel emissions,” the coalition added.
However, the EPA said the petition “does not meet the criteria for reconsideration” of the endangerment finding.
In a detailed response, the EPA primarily based its decision on the fact that the petition came in after the agency had held a comment period over the potential for the endangerment finding. The agency noted that the organization did not offer new information that would not have been available during the comment period.