Oregon bill creates exemptions for some biomass carbon emissions

By Erin Voegele | April 23, 2015

The Oregon Senate has passed legislation that declares biomass as carbon neutral under some circumstances. The bill conditionally exempts carbon dioxide emissions from the combustion or decomposition of biomass from regulation under certain air pollution laws.

The bill, S.B. 752, was introduced by state Sen. Tim Knopp in February. State Sen. Chris Edwards has also sponsored the measure. The Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee passed the bill on April 16. On April 20, the state Senate voted unanimously to pass the legislation. The bill has now been sent to the Oregon House.

According to the text of the legislation, the bill aims to exempt several biomass-related carbon dioxide emission sources from state pollution laws. These sources include agricultural operations, including but not limited to growing or harvesting crops, raising fowl or animals, clearing or grading agricultural land, propagating and raising nursery stock, propane flaming of mint stubble, stack or pile burning from Christmas trees as defined under certain state regulations. It would also exempt equipment used in agricultural operations, except boilers used in connection with propagating and raising nursery stock, along with residential barbecue equipment, and certain residential heating equipment. In addition, the legislation would exempt fires set or permitted by any public agency under certain conditions.

A full copy of the bill can be downloaded from the Oregon legislature website.