Volume 1, Issue 8 - December 2010
|From the Editors
Meg Sheehan & Josh Schlossberg
from the U.S. anti-biomass movement are joining international activists
in Cancun, Mexico from November 29-December 10 at the United Nations
Climate Change Conference. We will also be participating in a Global Day
of Action with anti-incinerator advocates on December 1.
home, anti-biomass burning coalitions are growing in Vermont,
Washington, and Georgia as more citizens learn about the public health
and environmental threats from greenwashing schemes funded with taxpayer
As we act locally and think globally, we empower both
local communities and the global movement for climate solutions that
honor the interdependence between humanity and nature, and that reject
techno-fixes and schemes that further threaten to undo the delicate
Biomass Industry Fights New Hampshire Biomass Incinerator
October 7, 2010
Eight existing biomass facilities filed petitions for intervention in
the power purchase agreement for Laidlaw Berlin BioPower LLC's proposed
70-megawatt biomass incinerator for Berlin, New Hampshire. The
intervening facilities, located in New Hampshire and Massachusetts,
claim that the new incinerator's requirement for 750,000 tons of wood
chips per year would compete with an already limited regional supply of
"It's definitely going to increase the price
of fuel for everyone," said Peter Bloomfield, president of Concord Steam
Corp. Petitions of intervention have also come from the New England
Power Generators Association Inc. and the City of Berlin.
Indiana Anti-Biomass Group Receives Award
November 6, 2010 The Concerned Citizens of Crawford County
has been named the Hoosier Environmental Council's "Frontline Advocate
of the Year" for their work opposing biomass incineration in
Indiana. Liberty Green LLC has proposed the construction of up to
three electricity-generating biomass incinerators in Milltown,
Scottsburg and another undisclosed location in Indiana.
Ohio Faces Biomass Onslaught
electricity-generating co-firing (with coal) biomass incinerators
totaling 2,210-megawatts have received permits and Renewable Energy
Credits from the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO), according
to Cheryl Johncox of Buckeye Forest Council. Facilities
range in size from 34 to 1,125-megawatts and would require 25.6 million
tons of green wood per year, "more than five times the growth of all
forest in Ohio, private and public."
claims that "the use of forest resources as biomass energy is
conditioned upon sustainable forest management operations," however
Johncox insists that "there are no requirements or regulatory oversight
for the commission or other entities to gauge practices."
does not mandate that incinerator developers disclose fuel sources or
forest practices that are to be used to log trees, such as clearcutting.
Rural Oregon vs. Biomass
October 2010 Save Our Rural Oregon (SORO)
is opposing the construction of the Klamath BioEnergy Facility, a
38-megawatt biomass incinerator proposed by Northwest Energy Systems
Company. The incinerator is to be sited on the banks of the Klamath
River in a 100-year flood plain, according to SORO member Ken Watkins.
|From the Forest
Report: The New Biomassters
November 2, 2010 The ETC Group released the report The New Biomassters--Synthetic Biology and the Next Assault on Biodiversity and Livelihoods, critiquing the global shift from fossil fuels extraction to the exploitation of living "biomass" for energy production.
An ETC Group press release states:
as an ecological switch from a 'black carbon' (i.e. fossil) economy to a
'green carbon' (plant-based) economy, this emerging bio-economy is in
fact a red-hot resource grab of the lands, livelihoods, knowledge and
resources of peoples in the global South, where most of that biomass is
The New Biomassters
"challenges common myths of industrial biomass use, including the
claims that switching to biomass is carbon-neutral, renewable and
green," and explains why "we cannot afford any increase in the amount of
biomass taken from already overstressed ecosystems."
The report can be downloaded here.
Study: Trees Filter More Pollutants Than Thought
October 22, 2010 A
new study demonstrates that deciduous trees filter up to four times
more oxygenated Volatile Organic Compounds (oVOCs), a pollutant which
has negative impacts on human health and the environment, than realized.
Dense forests and the tops of forest canopies make up 97% of oVOC
"This complex metabolic process within plants has the
side effect of cleansing our atmosphere," said co-author Chhandak Basu
of the University of Northern Colorado. The study, published in Science
Express, was conducted with co-authors from the University of Northern
Colorado and the University of Arizona, with research by scientists at
the National Center for Atmospheric Research.
Native forests in Olympic National Park
Biomass Threatens Mulch Industry
producers testified in front of Congress in August urging the U.S.
Department of Agriculture to deny federal tax subsidies for "bark,
bark-based materials, landscape mulching materials, softwood chips and
forest thinnings" from the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP)
[see Legislation Watch] on the grounds that increased competition will
drive up the cost of bark dust, a key component in soil mixes.
seen prices tick up and availability become an issue in the past
several years," said Corey Connors, legislative relations director for
the American Nursery and Landscape Association. Competition for
an already limited forest product "affects the whole supply chain, from
growers to retailers to landscape supply companies."
well be a job killer," said Connors, explaining how the nursery industry
is already hurting from the collapse of the housing market.
the self-proclaimed "leading information provider for the global forest
products industry," stated in their October 2008 Wood Biomass Market
Report that "the perceived overabundance of 'waste wood' in the nation's forests is simply not there."
Tell Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson (firstname.lastname@example.org) that biomass should not be considered 'best available control technology' for greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.
Biomass Crop Assistance Program
In October 2010, the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued the final rule provisions of the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP),
which "provides incentives to interested farmers, ranchers and forest
landowners for the establishment and cultivation of biomass crops for
heat, power, bio-based products and biofuels."
up to 15 years of annual payments for forest biomass and "assistance
for the collection, harvest, storage and transportation of biomass to
biomass conversion facilities" for two years for up to $45 per ton of
the delivery cost. Total BCAP expenditures over 15 years are estimated at $461 million.
have informed USDA that the final Environmental Impact Statement does
not pass legal muster, and is fatally flawed for several reasons,
including failure to account for impacts to forests and associated
carbon emissions," said attorney Meg Sheehan of Biomass Accountability Project. "With the BCAP program, the USDA is squandering taxpayer money, promoting forest destruction, and causing climate change."
Study: Cancer is Manmade
A study conducted at the University of Manchester's KNH Centre for
Biomedical Egyptology in England has determined that cancer was "a
striking rarity" over the millennia, with research only uncovering
substantial instances of cancer following the Industrial Revolution of
the 17th century. The research included mummified remains and literary
evidence from ancient Egypt and Greece, including medical studies of
human and animal remains dating back to Prehistoric times.
The study, Cancer: an old disease, a new disease or something in between?,
conducted by A. Rosalie David & Michael R. Zimmerman and published
in Nature, states that "carcinogenic environmental factors" such as
"pollution resulting from industrialization" and smoking are likely
responsible for up to 75% of cancer cases.
Professor Rosalie David, at the Faculty of Life Sciences, said: "In
industrialized societies, cancer is second only to cardiovascular
disease as a cause of death. But in ancient times, it was extremely
rare. There is nothing in the natural environment that can cause cancer.
So it has to be a man-made disease, down to pollution and changes to
our diet and lifestyle."
states that the "data from across the millennia has given modern
society a clear message--cancer is man-made and something that we can
and should address."
|Trashing the Climate
"Trashification" in North Carolina
Mike Ewall, Energy Justice Network
Development is planning a trash gasification facility called ReVenture
just outside of Charlotte, North Carolina. Local activists are
organizing opposition to this incinerator, with the help of Energy Justice Network, Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League and others.
August, the governor signed into law a bill that gives ReVenture triple
credits under the state's Renewable Portfolio Standard.
only silver lining in this is that the energy utilities that were close
to signing a power purchase agreement with Fibrowatt for their two
remaining poultry waste incinerator proposals in North Carolina are
rethinking it, throwing the fate of these other incinerator proposals
into economic uncertainty.
power is renewable energy derived from ocean waves. Currently, there
are three basic technological paradigms for wave energy:
The device, either submerged or on the surface, is moved up and down
or back and forth by waves. Its motion is used to drive an electric
Oscillating water column:
Air enters a chamber through a hole and is compressed and decompressed
by wave movement. A high-powered turbine catches the air as it?s
"Over topping device":
A large structure, shore-based or in the ocean, that channels waves
into a basin. When the basin's water level becomes higher than the
ocean's, the basin is drained.