Texas Wesleyan Law Review

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This Article encourages state and federal policymakers to consider the sustainability of biomass when establishing or implementing standards that mandate or incentivize the use of biomass for energy, whether as fuel or electricity. Revealing the important role biomass plays in renewable energy standards, Section II introduces the concepts of biomass, renewable energy objectives, and sustainability. Section III surveys the various definitions of "biomass." The survey exposes widespread use of an inadequate definition of "biomass," primarily due to the policy oversight that renewable does not equal sustainable. Section IV provides a discussion of two solutions to remedy the problem of the deficient definition of "biomass." The first solution discussed is a model approach to be utilized by policymakers. The approach can be utilized when a state renews or revises RPS goals, when a state without a RPS enacts a RPS, or when an agency managing a program encounters an ambiguous, broad definition. The approach includes factors to consider when developing a definition of "biomass." One such consideration is sustainability certification. Environmental and energy objectives can be fused by the adoption of a certification program, such as sustainability certification based on standards and procedures developed by the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels ("RSB"). The approach also suggests utilizing Renewable Energy Credit ("REC") multipliers based on those meeting or exceeding sustainability goals. The second proposed solution encourages a national RPS, preferably non-preemptive. A national RPS will help develop nationwide standards while providing latitude for statespecific energy objectives. National policymakers should also consider utilizing the model approach. Alone or combined, these solutions help ensure that progressive energy policy does not negatively impact the environment.



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