AUDIO: Honoring the Environmental Movement’s Fallen Heroes | The Biomass Monitor Conference Call (June 2015)

Honoring the Environmental Movement’s Fallen Heroes | The Biomass Monitor Conference Call (June 2015)

Any of us who have worked to try to make the world a better place hopes to have made a difference during our short time on Earth. We want to be remembered for our contributions, and maybe even carve out our own little place in history.

Yet, unlike the deaths of celebrities and politicians, the passing of environmental advocates doesn’t always make the news, so the songs of these green heroes often go unsung. 

To honor the memory of those who dedicated their lives to the protection of the air, water, and living ecosystems that give us all life, The Biomass Monitor hosted a conference call on June 18 where callers memorialized someone in their lives who worked for the cause that underlies all causes –  the natural world we depend on for survival.

Listen to the audio link here.

Join The Biomass Monitor conference calls on the 3rd Thursdays of every month at 5 pm PT (8 ET). 

Next call is on July 16 @ 5 pm PT (8 ET): "Is Incineration Zero Waste?" 

In Memory of Those Who Have Fallen | June issue of The Biomass Monitor

“How did it get so late so soon?”…Oh well, here’s the June issue of The Biomass Monitor -- the nation’s leading publication covering the health and environmental impacts of biomass energy!

Inside this issue, “In Memory of Those Who Have Fallen”:

- Bonnie Phillips, Friend of the Forest

Remembering Marvin Wheeler

Martin Litton: A Giant in Protecting the Earth

...and more!

Please share the June 2015 issue of The Biomass Monitor with your friends, colleagues, neighbors, media, and elected officials! 

Subscribe to free, monthly email issues of The Biomass Monitor, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

 

 

Remembering Marvin Wheeler

- by Mike Ewall, Energy Justice Network (The Biomass Monitor - June 2015)
 
When we formed Allentown Residents for Clean Air (ARCA) in 2012, we couldn't have kicked it off without Marvin Wheeler, who found us as an active member of the West Park Civic Association. As a retired school nurse, Marvin understood the health threat posed by the plan to burn 150 tons a day of trash and sewage sludge in the heart of Pennsylvania's third largest city.
 
Surrounded by schools, parks, playgrounds, public housing, a hospital, and a prison, this experimental incinerator was a threat to all that Marvin held dear.  
 
"Keep in mind, this is a brown and black low-income neighborhood," he reminded us. "I think they picked this site because of the county prison that's over there... it's like 'kill the prisoners a littler earlier, before they finish their sentences.'"
 
It saddens us that he is no longer with us to see the fruits of the victory he helped make possible. When others weren't available to help, Marvin organized a petitioners committee and kicked off the effort to bring the issue to the voters. He helped us collect the thousands of signatures we needed to get the Allentown Clean Air Ordinance we drafted onto the city ballot so that the people could choose to adopt protections from incinerator pollution. In freezing winter weather, Marvin worked hard on collecting signatures, slogging from door to door with us, welcoming us into his home, and introducing us to other key people in the community. His warm and humorous personality kept us going in the frantic drive to collect enough signatures in the city's initiative process.
 
While we didn't win the way we had planned (at the polls), the incinerator deal has fallen apart in the past several months. As one of the original petitioners, Marvin is named in our lawsuit over the ordinance initiative (which is still in the courts, as we fight over the right for people to vote on such matters). The delays killed the project as permits and investors were also tied up. The 35-year waste supply contract with the city was canceled by the city late last year. The company's air permit was rescinded a few months ago, and their waste permit (which we also legally challenged) was just revoked as well.
 
As a medical professional, Marvin was teaching kids about asthma triggers and understood that incinerator would be a large one. He spoke about how asthma inhalers and medicines just treat the symptom after the disease, and spoke of the need to be proactive, not reactive. 
 
"The issue here is air quality... and when you think about that and the number of children in this area and the school less than a half a mile from here... what impact does it have on those middle school children?"
 
Here is a fantastic video of Marvin speaking about the struggle, and how "we have to do something different" with green jobs and recycling, not incineration.

Media Bias for Biomass Energy? | May issue of The Biomass Monitor

“In the merry month of May, I was taken by surprise”…by the May issue of The Biomass Monitor -- the nation’s leading publication covering the health and environmental impacts of biomass energy!

Inside this issue, “Media Bias for Biomass Energy?”:

- Media Bias for Biomass Energy?

Journalists: Incinerators Are Not Waste-to-Energy Facilities

Media Disinformation on Biomass

...and more!

Are Media Outlets Megaphones for Polluters? | Biomass Truth Conference Call

Are Media Outlets Megaphones for Polluters? | Biomass Truth Conference Call 
 
Thursday, May 21, 2015 at 5pm PST / 8 ET
 
Guest Speaker: Steve Horn, Investigative Journalist

Are media outlets doing an adequate job covering the health and environmental impacts of dirty energy corporations and other polluters?

Not according to Steve Horn, a Madison, Wisconsin-based freelance investigative journalist and writer for DeSmogBlog. Steve has found an alarming trend in one-sided media reporting on energy issues, making it difficult for the public to make informed decisions about climate change, air pollution, and our energy future.

Join Steve on Thursday, May 21 at 5 pm PT / 8 pm ET to get the scoop on media’s scanty reporting on corporate polluters and what you can do about it.

Email thebiomassmonitor at gmail.com for the call in number.

Find audio archives of past calls here

$355,375 Grant to Install Biomass Heating in Massachusetts Elementary Schools

[Will Massachusetts study the potential impacts of exposing children's vulnerable lungs to the particulate matter from burning biomass? -Josh]

- Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, May 5, 2015, Biomass Magazine

The administration of Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito has announced grant funding for Heath Elementary School in Heath and the Hawlemont Elementary School in Charlemont to convert to highly efficient biomass boilers from their existing oil heating systems. Two grants totaling $355,375 are the third and fourth to be awarded for implementation from the Schools and Public Housing Integrating Renewables and Efficiency (SAPHIRE) Program.

Solar Generation May Sideline Biomass Heating

[Note: this article is written by long-time wood stove cheerleader, John Ackerly.  It's nice to see him admitting that his wood-burning dreams are about to be dashed by solar power.  Energy Justice does not support combustion sources for heating, since non-burn alternatives exist, and since there are many pollution and health problems relating to wood stoves.]

- John Ackerly, May 1, 2015, Biomass Magazine

Most of us have looked at the explosive growth of solar photovoltaic systems as just a parallel and complementary renewable energy technology.  Solar panels make kilowatts while wood and pellet stoves make Btus, right?  Wrong.

To stay relevant, the biomass heating industry needs to keep abreast of rapid advances in the solar industry. We also need to think of ways to integrate our technology with other renewables, and we need to explore how that integration can happen right away, because renewable energy policy decisions being made now will impact our industry in coming decades.

The solar industry has a vision, ambition and plan for rapid expansion that is largely absent in the wood and pellet stove community.  Pathways for rapid expansion of pellet technologies are being developed in Europe, but not in the U.S.  While solar advocates are focused on a wide range of financing options, regulatory frameworks, R&D, utility partnerships, the wood and pellet stove industry seems to put more effort into trying to maintain the status quo and fight against regulations. 

Media Disinformation on Biomass

- by Chris Matera, Massachusetts Forest Watch 

Some people might call it a media failure that tree-fueled biomass energy, one of the dirtiest, most carbon-intensive forms of energy that exists, has a “clean” and “green” reputation with much of the public. 

It is not a media failure, it is a media success when we acknowledge that the mainstream media does not work for the public, or for uncovering the truth about matters of importance, and has devolved into nothing but paid distributors of misinformation used to benefit their corporate masters.   

That so many can be led to believe that a drastic increase in cutting and burning of forests is going to “lower” carbon emissions, and “help” the environment, in spite of indisputable, strong scientific evidence and common sense to the contrary, is a sad testimony to this malevolent power. 

This serious problem of media disinformation at the service of wealthy and powerful interests cuts across all issues of importance to the public. If called upon to do so by their paymasters, these "presstitutes" will diligently work to convince the public of anything, even that water runs uphill.  

With biomass energy, even the label "biomass" is indicative of the spin applied to most issues today. If the public were told they are going to be forced to subsidize a massive increase of cutting and burning of forests to “help” the environment, they would likely object. 

Instead they are sold industry funded, think tank created, focus group tested fuzzy labels like “biomass” and convinced that fact is fiction, and yet again, society marches off on the exact opposite path we need to be on, in order to do the bidding of a few self serving vested interests. 

In this case, the timber and energy industries, with the crucial support of the "presstitute" media, have snookered a well intentioned public into thinking they are sacrificing to help our environment, when in fact, under a “green” fog, they are literally paying the planet wreckers to increase cutting and burning of forests, which is just about the worst thing possible for global warming, air pollution and forest protection.

Oregon Senate OK’s Carbon Neutral Biomass Bill

- April 9, 2015, KTVZ

carbon power plantState Sen. Tim Knopp (R- Bend) carried Senate Bill 752 on the Senate floor Monday and the effort to declare biomass "carbon-neutral" sailed through unanimously.

SB 752 declares biomass to be carbon neutral, taking a rule previously created by the Department of Environmental Quality and making it law. It is chief sponsored by Knopp and Sen. Chris Edwards (D-Eugene), chair of the Senate Environment and National Resources Committee.

The bill passed out of committee last week on a bipartisan, unanimous vote and did the same on the Senate floor Monday.

"I believe it's important for Oregon to endorse the carbon neutrality of biomass. We have the opportunity to create jobs while also pursuing sound environmental policy." said Knopp.

SB 752 now heads to the House, where Knopp hopes it will be taken up soon. "This is a good bill, especially for rural Oregon," he said." I'm looking forward to the House sending this bill to the governor for her signature."

Chinese Incinerator Plan Cancelled After Thousands Join Protests

- by Mimi Lau, April 9, 2015, South China Morning Post

Chinese Incinerator ProtestA western Guangdong city has cancelled a plan to build an incinerator that prompted a protest - of up to 10,000 people on some accounts - during which three police cars were flipped and a duty office vandalised.

Luoding city government posted two letters on its website on Wednesday announcing the decision. One informed the Langtang township government that it had decided to cancel the project, which Langtang had brokered with China Resources Cement Holdings. The second urged residents to stop blocking roads, vandalising property or disturbing public order.

The decision came after residents of the town engaged in a defiant stand-off with police on Tuesday, in protest against what they said was the violent handling of a peaceful sit-in against the incinerator on Monday.

"People are angry with the site selection of the incinerator as it is within a 1km radius of people's homes," said one young resident. "The cement factory is producing enough pollution, we don't need another polluter."

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