BTEC Expresses Both Praise, Disappointment for Revised BCAP Rules
Revisions to the national biomass incentive program recognize role of biomass fuel for thermal applications, fall short on eligible materials
A BTEC News Press Release
October 27, 2010
Washington—The Biomass Thermal Energy Council (BTEC) has expressed its qualified support for the final revisions to the US Department of Agriculture Biomass Crop Assistance Program’s (BCAP) final rule, as published in this morning’s Federal Register. BTEC lauded the program’s revised fuel definition and elimination of tiered payments, but has also pledged to work with Congress to remedy remaining biomass issues.
“We are pleased that the USDA has incorporated several of BTEC’s core concerns from our previous comments, specifically towards eliminating separate tiered payments and recognizing processed biomass as an advanced biofuel,” said Kyle Gibeault, BTEC Deputy Director. “Although BTEC would like to see liquid biofuels and high efficient advanced biofuels treated equally under the BCAP feedstock supply payments, we support the progress USDA has made in recognizing the energy and environmental benefits of solid, biomass based fuel.”
Created in the 2008 Farm Bill, BCAP provides two incentive programs to increase biomass fuel supply nationwide. One component of the program provides matching payments of $1 per ton of eligible fuel (up to $45/ton) to qualified biomass fuel harvesting, collecting, handling, and or storage entities; the other provides annual payments to landowners who produce eligible biomass feedstocks. The recent rule revision resulted after the program exceeded projected expenditures two months into implementation.
BTEC’s Gibeault added that, “It is unfortunate that BCAP—through narrowly defining eligible biomass materials—has effectively eliminated forest and mill residuals for matching payments, which excludes a large majority of biomass thermal fuel suppliers nationwide. Although we recognize it is USDA’s responsibility to follow the 2008 Farm Bill’s provisions, BTEC will look to future legislative opportunities to shape more neutral biomass supply programs.”