Biomass Carbon Neutrality Language Omitted from House FY20 Appropriations Minibus
Yesterday, the House passed a $383 billion Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations "minibus" to fund several government agencies beyond September 30, 2019, including Commerce, Justice, Science, Agriculture, FDA, Interior, EPA, Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development. Of note, the Interior-Environment appropriations bills in recent years have included language that requires the EPA to consider biomass to be carbon neutral. While the EPA has done so for decades, the annual appropriations bills have made sure that EPA does not vary from this consideration and encouraged EPA to finalize a permanent policy on the issue. As reported in the monthly SLMA Regulatory Update, the EPA has signaled that it is considering a permanent biomass policy, but it has not yet come to fruition. It is unknown whether the Senate will include the language in their appropriations legislation. Additionally, the House funding bill was passed without a budget agreement with the Senate and White House, which are expected to want lower spending levels than the House.