Biomass Moratorium for Brevard County, North Carolina

Biomass Moratorium for Brevard County, North Carolina

- by Kimberly King, August 2, 2013. Source: WLOS

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"94","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","style":"width: 333px; height: 314px; float: left; margin-left: 7px; margin-right: 7px;"}}]]Monday night at the Brevard county courthouse the gallery broke in in raucous applause after Transylvania Commissioners voted for a one-year moratorium that effectively stopped plans for a Biomass plant on private property in Penrose at the airport. 

"They listened to us," said Kevin Glenn, with the anti-plant grass roots group, People for Clean Mountains. "A 12-month moratorium is what we need." 

"We heard nothing from the developer(Renewable Developers Penrose LLC) at all, said Sandy Briggs, who came to support the group. "They had many chances." 

In fact, that same sentiment was expressed by several commission members who said they repeatedly asked RDPenrose for more information about their plant but got nothing. There were two versions of the moratorium, one specifically addressing RDPenrose and a second more sweeping moratorium which was the one Commissioners voted in. The second version covers not only the current project but any Biomass proposal that may look to open in Transylvania county in the next year. The plan, commissioners said, is to evaluate what Biomass facilities entail as far as requirements, potential environmental effects, and community support. It was clear leading up to Monday's commission vote that a large contingent of Transylvania county residents were against the plant that would recycle garbage into energy. By phone Matthew Ross, an attorney with RDPenrose said the following: "We've known about this vote for quite some time. There is nothing that will take place that will be a surprise. We think it's short sighted and sends the wrong message to developers that Transylvania county is not interested in new business."

When pressed, Ross wouldn't say if his group would pull out of plans in Transylvania county altogether, but said the group was looking at other sites and had been for awhile. County Commissioner Larry Chapman told the crowd and his fellow commissioners, that no industry is completely green. He reminded them that many residents in the county would not have jobs were it not for plants and factories in the past and to be cognizant of the realities of development going forward. Though he and the other commission members said a moratorium gives them the chance to take a closer look at what kind of industries and businesses are the right fit for their county, and to recruit businesses to the county that remains in need of jobs.