January 18, 2019 

In This Week's Pellet Wire:

From the Director’s Desk – Opposed to the Where, Not the What

On Monday the Pellet Fuels Institute submitted extensive comments outlining its position on the inclusion of minimum pellet fuel requirements in the New Source Performance Standards, a piece of federal regulation aimed at improving air quality. These submitted comments were our latest salvo in a regulatory fight that began nearly four years ago. For large portions of 2017 and 2018, this regulatory debate hung in a sort of suspended animation. In November the debate was jumpstarted once again when the EPA published some amendments, advance notice of potential rulemaking and a request for comments on a handful of other items including the issue of greatest interest for our membership and pellet producers around the country, the inclusion of minimum pellet fuel requirements in the regulation.

What I think is most important and probably the most difficult aspect of our effort is the importance of establishing that the Pellet Fuels Institute is not opposed to minimum pellet fuel requirements or an established level of pellet quality. What we are opposed to is our product being treated differently than other solid fuel types in our category within a piece of federal regulation. Just because wood pellets are an engineered product with measurable attributes does not justify their inclusion in federal law.

I urge and invite each of you to read the comments prepared and submitted on your behalf. They are impressive, well-considered, articulate and thorough. Fair warning, I found myself needing to read them more than once to fully comprehend them.  What I can assure you is that point-by-point, our comments make it clear that the EPA does not have the legal authority to include these minimum requirements in the regulation and has not established how their inclusion will result in reduced emissions.

What happens now is anyone’s guess. The pellet fuel requirements are simply one aspect of the regulation open for comments. Our partners in the appliance and hearth retailing community are weighing in and closely watching the sell-through provisions. All told, there were thousands of comments submitted for this regulation, and all will have to be considered and responded to and, as everyone is well aware, the federal government is currently shut down. So for now, we’ve done what we can and what we needed to do. As this process moves forward you can count on the Pellet Wire to keep you up to speed on what’s happened and what it means for our industry. 

-Tim Portz
Executive Director

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Photo of the Week - Appalachian Wood Pellets
We're building a collection of photos of our members, their pellets mills and product. Send them to Carrie Annand at [email protected]. This week’s featured photo, of Tim Portz with PFI Chairman Don Wagner, is from Tim Portz’s visit to Appalachian Wood Pellets last fall.     

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Industry News

In North Carolina, Wood Pellet Foes See Opportunity in Cooper’s Climate Order 
Energy News Network

Critics hope an analysis of the pellet industry’s effects on carbon sinks and emissions could influence the biomass debate.

Undaunted by critics, biomass company Enviva is bidding to make North Carolina the country’s top exporter of wood pellets, a popular coal substitute in Europe whose purported climate benefits have come under increasing scrutiny.

For years, environmental advocates and many scientists here have fought toxic air pollution from pellet mills and tried to rebut claims that wood pellets are carbon neutral — both with limited success.

Read Full Article

Wood Pellet Facilities Expected to Bring Jobs, Economic Growth Back to Jackson and George Counties 
WLOX, Mississippi

Two new wood pellet facilities in South Mississippi are expected to bring hundreds of jobs and economic growth to Jackson and George counties.

George County announced Monday that the board of supervisors voted to build a $140 million wood pellet facility at the county’s Industrial Park. That move, which has been in the works for years, is expected to create 90 new full-time jobs, 300 construction jobs, and an estimated 300 indirect jobs in the timber and transportation industry.

It’s an agreement with Enviva Wood Pellets, the largest producer of wood pellets in the world. But the economic growth is not stopping at the production plant in George County.

Read Full Article

PFI Submits Comments on Minimum Pellet Fuel Requirements in Nsps 
Biomass Magazine 

Read Full Article


Pellet Fuels Institute

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