Biomass is a term that covers different types of organic material that can be processed and burned to produce energy, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, and can include materials like wood chips, agricultural crops, and sewage.
Mass Audubon's Position
We recognize that biomass can be an alternative source of energy, particularly when used in small-scale, high efficiency units that utilize thermal energy. However, there are significant concerns around large-scale biomass use related to greenhouse gas emissions, impacts to forests, and air quality issues, the latter of which typically hit low-income areas and communities of color hardest.
Mass Audubon has participated in the public review process on biomass regulations, mainly for woody biomass. We helped achieve key changes in regulations to ensure forests are managed sustainably in their role in providing renewable energy and sequestering carbon.
Our comments noted our concerns about climate change and the need for any renewable energy regulations—including the regulations for woody biomass—to contribute towards meeting the state's greenhouse gas reduction targets for Massachusetts.