|From the Editors
Meg Sheehan & Josh Schlossberg
do trees and garbage have in common? According to corporate marketers
and some lawmakers, incinerating them for electricity will ensure a
"clean and green" future for the planet! All it takes is a few billion
dollars of your taxpayer and ratepayer money and we'll populate the
country with biomass and garbage burning incinerators that will rain
toxics on us every day for decades!
The good news is there's a
mounting opposition as community members join medical doctors, forest
advocates, and anti-toxics groups to expose the scam. Biomass Busters is
out to celebrate victories against this misguided energy policy and
keep you updated on how concerned citizens of all political stripes and
walks of life are making a difference. We'll report on local and
national trends and let you know what Congress is up to when it comes to
handouts for the biomass and incinerator industry.
We're out to stop the scam, change the laws, and keep politicians honest. For submissions and feedback contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Victories in Florida
2010 A citizen appeal of an air pollution permit for a proposed 47
megawatt wood-burning incinerator in Port St. Joe has led Biomass Gas
and Electric (BG&E) to withdraw its permit application from the
Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
Citizen backlash against a proposed 55 megawatt biomass incinerator in
the city of Gretna has caused ADAGE (a partnership between Duke Energy
and AREVA) to withdraw its air pollution permit application from the
state. Advocacy by citizens such as James Maloy Jr., President of the Concerned Citizens of Gadsden County,
raised enough questions about the plant that the city council postponed
its approval, resulting in ADAGE withdrawing its permit application
later that day.
Massachusetts Ballot Measure Update
100,000 Massachusetts voters signed a petition to qualify a measure for
the November 2010 statewide ballot that would deny renewable energy
credits to biomass and garbage burning power plants unless they lower
their carbon dioxide emissions. Stop Spewing Carbon Campaign has until June 23 to collect the final round of 11,000 certified signatures needed to officially make the ballot.
Opposition in Indiana
their 17 month fight against two wood-burning power plants, citizens in
the Southern Indiana towns of Scottsburg and Milltown have become a
source of inspiration for communities across the nation.
Citizens such as Cara Beth Jones and Lori Crecelius of Concerned Citizens of Crawford County
have aggressively worked the media; gained the support of several
politicians and candidates; held meetings with government officials;
helped push forward bills against burning construction debris and to
reduce subsidies for biomass fuel production; and gained support from
75,000 doctors nationwide. These efforts have led to increased public
scrutiny of Liberty Green Renewables' two biomass projects and have
delayed final approval on state and local levels.
Sick & Tired Pennsylvanians
After a three year fight, Erie, Pennsylvania-based Keep Erie's Environment Protected (KEEP), with help from Energy Justice Network,
was able to prevent the construction of the world's largest tire
incinerator in their city. The company is now trying to relocate in
Crawford County, PA where a new group, Crawford Area Residents for the Environment (CARE) is taking up the fight.
Same Old Cr*p in Virginia
February, Energy Justice Network heard from a handful of residents in
Page County, Virginia who wanted to stop a proposed poultry waste
incinerator. EJN connected them with folks across the U.S., Europe and
Australia and within a month, Page County sent the incinerator packing.
|From the Forests
Biomass and Future Forests
Roy Keene, Forester, Oregon
arrival of wood-fueled power generators heralds a final stage in
industrial forest conversion --a conversion that reduces old growth
forests to saw timber stands, then to poles, and finally to chip wood.
As tree size shrinks, so does the work force and the communities that
depend on wood products employment. As a few timber barons become
wealthier, the rest of us--left with devalued forests, degraded water,
disrupted fisheries and declining jobs--become poorer. Without slowing
the final stages of forest plunder, Lane County, Oregon will, as other
regions have already, inherit an impoverished fiber-farm legacy.
Massachusetts Chainsaw Massacre
Chris Matera, Massachusetts Forest Watch
Massachusetts, five large biomass plants totaling 190 megawatts (MW) of
generation are proposed that target public forests for a more than
1,000% increase in logging (yes, you read that correctly) and would
require a quadrupling of logging overall on all forests to supply enough
wood. These plants would burn 2,500,000 green tons of wood and release
2,500,000 tons of CO2 emissions annually, causing a 10% increase over
current statewide power plant CO2 emissions (biomass power plants
release 50% more CO2 per MWhr than coal and 150% more than gas).
power produced from these plants would have enormous forest, waterway,
carbon and pollution impacts, yet increase generation capacity only 1%
more than today's Massachusetts generating capacity of 14,000 MW.
Achievable efficiency and conservation measures could reduce electrical
use by 30% and cost one-third as much as new production.
Dead Trees Make a Forest
George Wuerthner, Ecologist, Vermont
of the primary assumptions of biomass energy advocates is that we can
remove trees from forest ecosystems without significantly damaging the
landscape. But trees, particularly dead trees, are very important to
long term ecosystem sustainability. Most of our managed forests have a
severe deficiency of downed dead wood. Biomass extraction will only
exacerbate this condition.
The argument that "thinning" or
biomass removal will reduce wildfires in western forests ignores the
fact that most fires are driven by climatic conditions, not fuels. While
thinning can sometimes temporarily reduce fire hazard (it also often
makes it worse), even under the best situations the effects are short
lived. Within a few years new growth can actually increase flammability
of forests since it is the fine fuels, shrubs, and small trees that help
to carry a flame through the forest.
Finally, fuels are not the
driving force in fires. You will get a big blaze regardless of the
biomass available if drought, high winds and low humidity dominate the
climatic/weather conditions. If one looks at the total ecological
impacts of biomass removal, it's apparent that it does not benefit
forest ecosystems, and when one considers the low energy return on
investment from burning wood, biomass energy is a poor choice for
dealing with our current and future energy needs.
Send a message urging Congress to remove "clean" energy subsidies from polluting biomass incinerators.
Climate Bill Calls Incinerators Clean
Kerry-Lieberman climate change bill does more harm than good when it
comes to public health and the environment. Part of the problem is that
the bill is being written by the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, a
coalition of businesses paired up with environmental groups who are
supposed to be standing up for the environment, our communities and
public health. But the Big Greens aren't doing their job.
111th Congress' third attempt at a climate bill was set for release on
April 26, when Senator Graham bailed out at the last minute, delaying
the bill's unveiling.
It's reported that the bill will have a
"Renewable Electricity Standard" mandating that every state get a
certain amount of its electricity from "renewable" sources. And guess
what's called "clean" renewable energy under the bill? Burning
"biomass," construction and demolition debris, garbage and more!
Massachusetts Medical Society Opposes Wood Burning Power Plants
Medical Society's December 2009 press release states: "On the grounds
that biomass power plants pose an unacceptable risk to the public's
health by increasing air pollution, the Massachusetts Medical Society
has adopted a policy opposing three currently proposed large-scale
biomass power plants in Massachusetts and urging state government to
adopt policies to minimize the approval and construction of new biomass
|Trashing the Climate
Incineration Remains a Threat
Ananda Lee Tan, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives
decades the tobacco industry told us that cigarettes were safe. Now the
waste incineration industry wants us to believe they are coming clean?
Attempts to peddle waste-to-energy facilities haven't gained wide
acceptance around the world because people are aware that incineration:
a serious threat to public health. Burning garbage is a primary source
of cancer-causing dioxins and other pollutants that enter the food
supply and concentrate up through the food chain.
more carbon dioxide per unit of electricity than coal power. Current
atmospheric carbon loads cannot safely bear additional emissions from
incinerators and landfills.
an economic burden for communities. Billions of taxpayer dollars are
spent subsidizing the construction and operation of incinerators. For a
fraction of this cost, investments in recycling, reuse and
remanufacturing create significantly more business and employment
Energy Conservation and Efficiency
Northwest Community Energy
Energy conservation and energy efficiency are the most powerful tools in our transition to a clean energy future.
Graphic: Northwest SEED
depicted in the Energy Pyramid, renewable energy is an important piece
of our energy future, but the largest opportunities are currently in
energy conservation and efficiency. Please make conservation and
efficiency your top priority, as you work to move your community into
our clean energy future.