Eugene, Oregon Biomass Power Fails Pollution Test
-By Josh Schlossberg
(source: Camilla Mortensen, Eugene Weekly, Sept. 29, 2011)
20-megawatt biomass power incinerator in Eugene, Oregon failed a
portion of its air pollution control test resulting in a $9,856 fine
from Lane Regional Air Protection Agency (LRAPA).
The incinerator emitted unlawful quantities of particulate matter, which LRAPA
documents explain as an unintended result of pollution control measures
meant to reduce nitrogen oxides. The neighborhood surrounding the
incinerator has a greater proportion of low income, disabled, and Latino
residents than other Eugene neighborhoods.
matter consists of "fine particles which are easily inhaled deeply into
the lungs where they can be absorbed into the bloodstream or remain
embedded for long periods of time," according to the American Lung Association.
Seneca Sawmill sources its wood by clearcutting its industrial timberlands and from National Forests, including old growth forests.
Port St. Joe, FL Citizens Protest Biomass
-By Josh Schlossberg
Oct. 4, 2011:
Dozens of concerned Florida citizens gathered in front of the Port St.
Joe City Hall to ask City Commissioners deny approval for a 55-megawatt
biomass power incinerator. Despite opposition from dozens of
organizations including the American Lung Association, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Commissioners unanimously approved the project, known as the Northwest Florida Renewable Energy Center.
to the project include concerns with toxic air pollution, use of up to
13 million gallons of drinking water per day, pollution dumped in St.
Joseph's Bay, and 160 daily diesel truck trips, according to a press
"It's wrong to put profit before people," said protest organizer Erica Bruckner.
"We should not be forced to accept a toxic incinerator that is going to
harm our health for decades, ruin our tourist economy, drive down the
value of our homes and businesses, and destroy our natural resources."
Incinerator Opponent Predicts Harrisburg, PA Bankruptcy
(source: Chris Papst, WHPTV, October 3, 2011)
The imminent bankruptcy of Pennsylvania's capital was predicted by Mike Ewall, director of Energy Justice Network,
eight years prior. In 2003, Ewall told the Harrisburg City Council
that providing a $125 million loan to fix a polluting municipal waste
incinerator would bankrupt the city. Ignoring overwhelming public
opposition, the council voted 6-1 in favor of the loan.
the city and the authority don't have guaranteed waste steams,
over-estimate the potential power and steam sales, under-estimate ash
disposal and operating costs, and have no guarantee of an air pollution
permit, this project will put the city into bankruptcy," warned Ewall.
that our opponents have said have been lies, distortions and untruths
and things they have made up," said Randy King, spokesperson for
Harrisburg's former Mayor Reed in 2003.
The Harrisburg incinerator was the longest operating incinerator in the nation.
Air Pollution Can Impact Brain
(source: ScienceDaily, July 6, 2011)
-By Josh Schlossberg
A study out of Ohio State University
demonstrated that exposure to particulate matter, a byproduct of
biomass burning and other combustion, resulted in learning and memory
problems and depression in mice.
results suggest prolonged exposure to polluted air can have visible,
negative effects on the brain, which can lead to a variety of health
problems," said lead author Laura Fonken, doctoral student of
neuroscience at Ohio State. The study, published in Molecular Psychiatry,
adds brain impacts to the litany of health concerns from particulate
matter to those of lung disease, high blood pressure, obesity, and
more we learn about the health effects of prolonged exposure to air
pollution, the more reasons there are to be concerned," said study
co-author Randy Nelson, professor of neuroscience and psychology at Ohio State.
could have important and troubling implications for people who live and
work in polluted urban areas around the world," warned Fonken. Biomass
power incinerators emit higher levels of particulate matter than coal
Study: Thinning Forests for Biomass Bad for Climate
-By Josh Schlossberg
May 25, 2011: A new study from Oregon State University
concludes that "thinning" forests increases carbon dioxide emissions
over a fifty year period when compared to unlogged forests. Western
forests, particularly public lands, are experiencing an increasing
number of "fuel reduction" logging projects to provide lumber and
biomass energy under the banner of "wildfire prevention."
The study, Impacts of Thinning on Carbon Stores in the Pacific Northwest,
contradicts timber and biomass industry claims of "carbon neutrality"
for cutting trees for biomass power. The study found that "forest carbon
pools always immediately decreased as a result of a fuel reduction
thinning, with larger differences in total carbon pools resulting from
heavier thinning treatments."
U.S. Forest Service
scientists demonstrate maintaining a defensible space immediately
around homes--not logging backcountry forests--to be the most effective
USDA's $80 Million Biofuel Handout
-By Josh Schlossberg
Sept. 28, 2011: The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued two $40 million grants to the University of Washington and Washington State University for the development of hybrid poplar bio-energy crops for use as liquid transportation fuels.
headquartered in Portland, Oregon, will "oversee the development of
multiple first-stage hybrid poplar bio-energy tree farms at strategic
locations throughout the Pacific Northwest," according to a press
release. The grant will help "advance the science that will lead to the
development of a new class of bio-energy hybrid poplar varietals
producing significant yields of woody biomass" to convert to liquid
fuels, said Brian Stanton, GreenWood's chief science officer.
|Letter to the Editor
Please send Letters to the Editor (150 words) in response to content to thebiomassmonitor [at] gmail.com.
Seneca Biomass Power Pollutes
Oregon's Seneca biomass plant fails its first pollution tests and Lane
Regional Air Protection Agency director Merlyn Hough doesn't believe it
poses a health problem. The American Lung Association, the American
Heart Association, many Medical Societies across the country and our
Lane County Health Advisory Committee disagree! They are all against
the high rate of pollution from burning biomass. What kind of protection
are the many asthma sufferers in our community getting from Hough and
believe taxpayers should all be angry when they realize they paid
millions to be polluted. In addition, many expect forests to be cut and
rivers to be polluted to produce power with this very inefficient method
of giving a few houses electricity. I can think of a cheaper and less
polluting methods, such as an effort at conservation, like wearing a
sweater, insulating the attic, or turning out the lights.
|From the Editor
-By Rachel Smolker, Managing Editor
Wall Street has arrived. While there are some criticizing the "lack of
clear messaging," others would agree that the overarching
theme--resisting corporations sucking the lifeblood out of the 99
percent--is a powerful and uniting theme.
those resisting biomass, there is certainly a strong resonance. Big
Timber, Big Ag and a list from A to Z of profiteers are cashing in on
subsidies that we the 99 percent pay for...and they use our money to
build polluting facilities that will make our kids and ourselves sick,
drive up our healthcare costs, and trash our forests and fields.
insult to injury, we are told that this is what is necessary to fix our
slumping economy--toxic jobs we just can't live without (or with...).
The convergence of corporate interests that has congealed around
bioenergy is alarming--pretty much all those who make or use energy...
And they have a "storyline" even if it is lies--the story about "clean,
green, renewable" energy, and a "new green economy" replete with "green
will need to be vigilant to ensure that the well intended in this newly
emerging people's movement, do not get taken in by that story! Time to
get offline and head to the streets!
|Biomass Buster of the Month
Chris Matera - Massachusetts
Chris Matera is the founder and director of Massachusetts Forest Watch, a grassroots group advocating for the protection of New England's forests and against biomass incineration.
has been instrumental in raising awareness around New England to the
folly of burning our precious forests for polluting energy, while
applying strong political pressure.
do not need the additional pollution and tiny amounts of energy
available from cutting, burning and belching forests up smokestacks,"
Chris explains. "But we do need to protect forests if they are to
continue cleaning up the mess we humans have already made of our air,
water and atmosphere."
|Eye on D.C.
Do the 1% Own Congress?
-By Rachel Smolker
D.C. has gone septic. A host of new bill proposals will provide more
supports for biomass, but at the same time a small opportunity
exists--with the "super committee" charged with carving out the budget.
Could they be convinced that biomass subsidies are a "waste?"
in the larger context it is downright scary to see attempts to entirely
disembowel the EPA, using the argument that protecting the environment
is a "jobs killer."
and all attempts to regulate CO2 are floundering and a series of bills
in process now would indefinitely delay regulation of toxic pollution
from power plants, cement kilns, and industrial boilers: a heyday for
the incinerator developers and "Mayday" for our children's lungs.
members of the Congressional “Super Committee” and let them know that
the best way to balance the budget and relieve taxpayers of their
financial burden is to cut any and all subsidies to biomass power
Small Wind Reaches 100 Megawatts
AWEA Small Wind Turbine Global Market Study
an economic downturn, the U.S. market for small wind turbines--those
with rated capacities of 100 kilowatts (kW) and less--grew 15% in 2009
with 20.3 Megawatts (MW) of new capacity and $82.4 million in sales.
This growth equates to nearly 10,000 new units and pushes the total
installed capacity in the U.S. to 100 MW.
of this 100-MW milestone capacity came within the past three years of
the industry's 80-year history. Overall, the industry appears to be
heading for sustained growth; the question is at what rate.
trends in investment and policy support continue, the U.S. may very well
reach the industry's projection of installing more than 1 GW of
cumulative capacity by 2015.