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The Biomass Monitor

The Biomass Monitor monthly newsletter is the nation's leading publication covering the health and environmental impacts of "biomass" energy.

Current Issue: Media Bias for Biomass Energy? [May 2015]

 

The Biomass Monitor
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The nation's leading publication covering the health and environmental impacts of "biomass" energy.

Made possible by funding from Energy Justice Network, Florida Environmental Justice Network, and Florida League of Conservation Voters

Editors: Josh Schlossberg, Mike Ewall, and Samantha Chirillo

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Join us on the 3rd Thursday of every month, where we invite guest speakers to present on an aspect relevant to the health, environmental, and economic impacts of biomass energy, and then open the call to questions and discussion.

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Biomass Monitor Blog

Media Bias for Biomass Energy? | May issue of The Biomass Monitor

“In the merry month of May, I was taken by surprise”…by the May issue of The Biomass Monitor -- the nation’s leading publication covering the health and environmental impacts of biomass energy!

Inside this issue, “Media Bias for Biomass Energy?”:

- Media Bias for Biomass Energy?

Journalists: Incinerators Are Not Waste-to-Energy Facilities

Media Disinformation on Biomass

...and more!

Please share the May 2015 issue of The Biomass Monitor with your friends, colleagues, neighbors, media, and elected officials! 

Subscribe to free, monthly email issues of The Biomass Monitor!

 

 

Are Media Outlets Megaphones for Polluters? | Biomass Truth Conference Call

Are Media Outlets Megaphones for Polluters? | Biomass Truth Conference Call 
 
Thursday, May 21, 2015 at 5pm PST / 8 ET
 
Guest Speaker: Steve Horn, Investigative Journalist

Are media outlets doing an adequate job covering the health and environmental impacts of dirty energy corporations and other polluters?

Not according to Steve Horn, a Madison, Wisconsin-based freelance investigative journalist and writer for DeSmogBlog. Steve has found an alarming trend in one-sided media reporting on energy issues, making it difficult for the public to make informed decisions about climate change, air pollution, and our energy future.

Join Steve on Thursday, May 21 at 5 pm PT / 8 pm ET to get the scoop on media’s scanty reporting on corporate polluters and what you can do about it.

Email thebiomassmonitor at gmail.com for the call in number.

Find audio archives of past calls here

$355,375 Grant to Install Biomass Heating in Massachusetts Elementary Schools

[Will Massachusetts study the potential impacts of exposing children's vulnerable lungs to the particulate matter from burning biomass? -Josh]

- Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, May 5, 2015, Biomass Magazine

The administration of Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito has announced grant funding for Heath Elementary School in Heath and the Hawlemont Elementary School in Charlemont to convert to highly efficient biomass boilers from their existing oil heating systems. Two grants totaling $355,375 are the third and fourth to be awarded for implementation from the Schools and Public Housing Integrating Renewables and Efficiency (SAPHIRE) Program.

Solar Generation May Sideline Biomass Heating

[Note: this article is written by long-time wood stove cheerleader, John Ackerly.  It's nice to see him admitting that his wood-burning dreams are about to be dashed by solar power.  Energy Justice does not support combustion sources for heating, since non-burn alternatives exist, and since there are many pollution and health problems relating to wood stoves.]

- John Ackerly, May 1, 2015, Biomass Magazine

Most of us have looked at the explosive growth of solar photovoltaic systems as just a parallel and complementary renewable energy technology.  Solar panels make kilowatts while wood and pellet stoves make Btus, right?  Wrong.

To stay relevant, the biomass heating industry needs to keep abreast of rapid advances in the solar industry. We also need to think of ways to integrate our technology with other renewables, and we need to explore how that integration can happen right away, because renewable energy policy decisions being made now will impact our industry in coming decades.

The solar industry has a vision, ambition and plan for rapid expansion that is largely absent in the wood and pellet stove community.  Pathways for rapid expansion of pellet technologies are being developed in Europe, but not in the U.S.  While solar advocates are focused on a wide range of financing options, regulatory frameworks, R&D, utility partnerships, the wood and pellet stove industry seems to put more effort into trying to maintain the status quo and fight against regulations. 

Media Disinformation on Biomass

- by Chris Matera, Massachusetts Forest Watch 

Some people might call it a media failure that tree-fueled biomass energy, one of the dirtiest, most carbon-intensive forms of energy that exists, has a “clean” and “green” reputation with much of the public. 

It is not a media failure, it is a media success when we acknowledge that the mainstream media does not work for the public, or for uncovering the truth about matters of importance, and has devolved into nothing but paid distributors of misinformation used to benefit their corporate masters.   

That so many can be led to believe that a drastic increase in cutting and burning of forests is going to “lower” carbon emissions, and “help” the environment, in spite of indisputable, strong scientific evidence and common sense to the contrary, is a sad testimony to this malevolent power. 

This serious problem of media disinformation at the service of wealthy and powerful interests cuts across all issues of importance to the public. If called upon to do so by their paymasters, these "presstitutes" will diligently work to convince the public of anything, even that water runs uphill.  

With biomass energy, even the label "biomass" is indicative of the spin applied to most issues today. If the public were told they are going to be forced to subsidize a massive increase of cutting and burning of forests to “help” the environment, they would likely object. 

Instead they are sold industry funded, think tank created, focus group tested fuzzy labels like “biomass” and convinced that fact is fiction, and yet again, society marches off on the exact opposite path we need to be on, in order to do the bidding of a few self serving vested interests. 

In this case, the timber and energy industries, with the crucial support of the "presstitute" media, have snookered a well intentioned public into thinking they are sacrificing to help our environment, when in fact, under a “green” fog, they are literally paying the planet wreckers to increase cutting and burning of forests, which is just about the worst thing possible for global warming, air pollution and forest protection.

Oregon Senate OK’s Carbon Neutral Biomass Bill

- April 9, 2015, KTVZ

carbon power plantState Sen. Tim Knopp (R- Bend) carried Senate Bill 752 on the Senate floor Monday and the effort to declare biomass "carbon-neutral" sailed through unanimously.

SB 752 declares biomass to be carbon neutral, taking a rule previously created by the Department of Environmental Quality and making it law. It is chief sponsored by Knopp and Sen. Chris Edwards (D-Eugene), chair of the Senate Environment and National Resources Committee.

The bill passed out of committee last week on a bipartisan, unanimous vote and did the same on the Senate floor Monday.

"I believe it's important for Oregon to endorse the carbon neutrality of biomass. We have the opportunity to create jobs while also pursuing sound environmental policy." said Knopp.

SB 752 now heads to the House, where Knopp hopes it will be taken up soon. "This is a good bill, especially for rural Oregon," he said." I'm looking forward to the House sending this bill to the governor for her signature."

Chinese Incinerator Plan Cancelled After Thousands Join Protests

- by Mimi Lau, April 9, 2015, South China Morning Post

Chinese Incinerator ProtestA western Guangdong city has cancelled a plan to build an incinerator that prompted a protest - of up to 10,000 people on some accounts - during which three police cars were flipped and a duty office vandalised.

Luoding city government posted two letters on its website on Wednesday announcing the decision. One informed the Langtang township government that it had decided to cancel the project, which Langtang had brokered with China Resources Cement Holdings. The second urged residents to stop blocking roads, vandalising property or disturbing public order.

The decision came after residents of the town engaged in a defiant stand-off with police on Tuesday, in protest against what they said was the violent handling of a peaceful sit-in against the incinerator on Monday.

"People are angry with the site selection of the incinerator as it is within a 1km radius of people's homes," said one young resident. "The cement factory is producing enough pollution, we don't need another polluter."

Shuttered Claremont, New Hampshire Incinerator to Reopen

- by Patrick O’Grady, April 15, 2015, Valley News

wheelabrator incinerator in claremont new hampshireThe shuttered Wheelabrator incinerator on Grissom Lane was sold at auction Tuesday for $1.63 million, with the buyer saying he plans to use it to burn municipal waste.

As several bidders stood outside the plant hoping to pick up pieces of equipment at a bargain price, auctioneer Stuart Millner explained that he would allow a bidder to buy everything, including about 9 acres of land.

Millner started the bidding at $1.5 million and Ed Deely — who said he was there on behalf of Hybrid Tech Farms — quickly raised it to the final price of $1.63 million. Other bidders who were not present at the site communicated with Millner by phone, but it was unclear how many there were.

The sale price was referred to as “restricted,” which Deely explained means there will be restrictions, agreed to with Wheelabrator, on the municipalities from which the company can accept solid waste. Late Tuesday, Deely said it is too early to predict when the sale would be finalized or when the plant would start burning trash.

Biomass Corporation Sues Federal Gov’t for $47 Million

- by Jacob Fischler, April 9, 2015, Law 360

department of the treasuryMeadWestvaco Virginia Corp. slapped the federal government with a $47 million suit in the Court of Federal Claims on Thursday, alleging the U.S. Department of Treasury underpaid the company for the construction of a biomass energy generator.

Under Section 1603 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the government was obligated to pay 30 percent of the qualified cost to MeadWestvaco of building an open-loop biomass energy facility at its Covington, Virginia, paper mill in 2013, or about $85.9 million, the company says.

But the government paid only about $38.9 million. Most of the power produced at the facility was sold to Virginia Electric & Power Co., but the government made the reduction on the grounds that the company was reusing some of the excess low-pressure steam from the biomass facility to heat the facility itself and the nearby paper mill, the company says.

MeadWestvaco argues it was actually being more efficient in its use of the low-pressure steam and said the government’s logic was completely off-base.

“The government's determination is so erroneous and uninformed that it is entitled to no deference and should be discarded completely,” the complaint says.

Because Section 1603 is a money-mandating statute, qualifying projects automatically earn reimbursement of 30 percent of their costs for the necessary parts of the projects, MeadWestvaco says. The total cost to the company of building the biomass facility was $291 million, with $286 million used on qualifying portions.

Mining the Soil for Biomass Energy | Biomass Truth Conference Call

Mining the Soil for Biomass Energy - Thursday, April 16 at 1 pm PT / 4 ET

logging in white river national forest coloradoJon Rhodes, watershed hydrologist, has more than thirty years of professional experience evaluating the impacts of logging and road building on forest ecosystems and watersheds. Jon runs Planeto Azul Hydrology, which provides affordable watershed expertise for a wide variety of conservation efforts.

Call in on Thursday, April 16 at 1 pm PT / 4 ET to learn about the impacts of "fire fuels reduction" and biomass energy logging on forest soils, a precious resource thousands of years in the making and the foundation of forest ecosystems.

Email thebiomassmonitor AT gmail.com for call-in number and access code. 

The Biomass Monitor hosts Biomass Truth Conference Calls every 3rd Thursday of the month. Go to thebiomassmonitor.org for more info or to subscribe to free monthly issues of The Biomass Monitor