Thanks to NY Biomass Incinerator, Firewood More Difficult to Find

- by Pete Creedon, October 6, 2014, Watertown Daily Times

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"276","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","style":"line-height: 20.6719989776611px; width: 255px; height: 253px; margin: 3px 10px; float: left;"}}]]Always nice to see a company come in an offer jobs and other things that will benefit the area it serves (“ReEnergy wins huge contract at Drum,” Sept. 30).

The question is, at what cost? The people this will affect in a negative way are a small group of people who for the most part will not receive any of the benefits of this biomass plant.

These people are the ones who heat their homes with wood. For the last couple of years as this plant has been coming online, it has become harder to find firewood and at a price that has not been inflated.

There was an article in the paper last year, I believe, how the firewood producers were saying that they have not cut back on firewood production in favor of wood chip production for this biomass plant. That is hard to believe. The company I get my firewood from, I know for a fact, supplies this plant.

Last year, it was difficult to find the wood I needed for last winter. The price was almost double what I spent the year before.

Like everything else, the cost of firewood is going up due to fuel and labor costs passed on from the logging company. This only makes sense.

However, when a firewood-producing company raises its price for a cord of cut and split wood or a load of uncut logs just because it has the product available because it is not selling to the biomass plant is just not right. The logging companies are, of course (like any other business), going to go where they can make the most money.

Soon, as this plant produces more and more electricity, it will require more wood chips to keep it running at top capacity. This will create even more of a strain on the local firewood industry.

Prices for firewood will go up faster then they have ever before as it becomes harder and harder to find firewood. The other option is to use heating fuel or gas.

Prices for heating oil are high, and for the moment heating with wood is still a cheaper option. Got to wonder how long this will be true.

I hope to be shortly one of the hundreds of Northern New Yorkers who are fleeing the state in hopes of finding a place to live that one can afford and find meaningful work.