Georgia Classifies Old Tires As ‘Biomass,’ Approves Burning Them For Fuel

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The Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) recently approved rules that allow power companies to consider scrap tires as a form of renewable “biomass” fuel, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday.

Biomass typically refers to organic fuel sources, such as wood, agricultural crops or algae, although some waste products like plastics, rubber and leather can qualify under certain conditions, according to the Department of Energy. The PSC rules, which took effect on April 21, would permit companies to successfully bid for biomass facilities that generated at most 20% of their heat input from scrap tires, according to the AJC. (RELATED: Biden EPA Gives Major Handout To Big Corn)

The move drew criticism from environmental groups, such as the Southern Environmental Law Center and Sierra Club, who petitioned the PSC to revoke the order and are considering a lawsuit, according to the AJC. The groups contend that the PSC failed to provide 30 days notice before the ruling and that it was not in the public interest to permit the burning of tires.

Republican Commissioner Jason Shaw, who proposed the rules, told the AJC that environmental interests had raised “compelling reasons” to reconsider the rules. However, he said that he had followed the advice of PSC’s legal team in implementing the rules, and was not prepared to commit to any further steps.

Proponents for the change at a March 30 hearing suggested that the inclusion of tires as biomass would help improve consistency of biomass-burning power plants, according to the AJC. Georgia Power, the state’s dominant power provider, expressed hesitation about the change.

“Although Georgia Power will follow whatever the Commission ultimately orders, Georgia Power does not support adding tire-derived fuel to its 2022 Integrated Resource Plan,” John Kraft, a Georgia Power spokesman, told the AJC. The plan in question, which was approved by the PRC last summer, would add 360 megawatts of biomass power to the company’s power generation by 2047.

The PSC did not immediately respond to a Daily Caller News Foundation request for comment.

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