American Clean Energy and Security Act
The 2009 American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES) passed the U.S. House on June 26, 2009 with a broad definition of what qualifies as renewable biomass under its renewable electricity standard (RES) provision. This inclusive definition was originally authored by FLA and was passed in the 2008 Farm Bill.
Although FLA does not support the American Clean Energy and Security Act, the inclusion of a broad biomass definition is critical, as it would not prevent landowner access to emerging wood to energy markets.
After many months of FLA lobbying and FLA members emailing and calling their members of Congress pushing for the use of the 2008 Farm Bill definition in any RES provisions, the U.S. House followed the position of American private forest landowners, proving that grassroots advocacy does indeed work.
Now the energy and climate debate shifts to the Senate, where the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved a broad energy bill on June 17, 2009. The Senate energy bill, which does not currently carry a carbon/climate provision, could be considered by the full Senate in combination with a climate bill as early as this fall. It is unknown whether or not there will be enough support in the Senate for passage. FLA will continue its position in favor of the broad definition passed in the 2009 ACESA, but will remain neutral on the bill as a whole.
At this point, it is believed ACES would also repair the restrictive definition of renewable biomass in the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) of the Energy Independence & Security Act of 2007. However, until this is confirmed, FLA continues to seek cosponsors of H.R. 1190 and S. 636 to broaden the RFS renewable biomass definition.