A perennial battle in Congress over the environmental effects of burning wood for energy has tipped again toward the biomass industry. The $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill declares forest bioenergy carbon neutral and instructs federal agencies to adopt policies supporting that assumption. …The bill, poised to pass by Friday, calls on agencies to “establish clear and simple policies” for forest biomass as an energy source, including policies that “reflect the carbon neutrality of forest bioenergy and recognize biomass as a renewable energy source.” …Critics of the wood-to-energy industry said they were disappointed by the provision’s inclusion in the omnibus. They attributed its endurance to Maine’s senior senator, Republican Susan Collins, an appropriator whose state is a timber industry leader. A spokesperson for Collins… “Recognizing the carbon neutrality of biomass not only aligns with the science, but also encourages investments in working forests, harvesting operations, bioenergy, wood products, and paper manufacturing”.