Biomass Industry Fights Transparency [The Biomass Monitor]

Biomass Industry Fights Transparency

- by Josh Schlossberg, The Biomass Monitor

I was pleased to see the VT Digger opinion piece by Bill Kropelin, chief forester for Burlington Electric Department’s McNeil biomass incinerator, in response to Energy Justice Network’s McNeil Biomass Forest Map—since a public discussion on the health and environmental impacts of industrial-scale “biomass” energy in Vermont is long overdue. 

Logging for McNeil biomass incinerator in Buels Gore, Vermont

Allentown Residents for Clean Air bring Incinerator Issue to the Voters

An experimental trash and sewage sludge incinerator, planned in the heart of the Hispanic community in the City of Allentown, Pennsylvania is being challenged by Allentown Residents for Clean Air (ARCA). The group just submitted over 2,000 signatures to put a Clean Air Ordinance we wrote on the November ballot as an initiative. If this ballot initiative passes, Delta Thermo Energy will have to comply with strict requirements to do real-time monitoring of many toxic pollutants, and will have to disclose the data on a website real-time. They'll also have to control their emissions so that they are as clean as a gas-burning power plant of the same size.  Considering that the company is appealing the most minimal requirements set by the state, it's unlikely that they'll proceed to build the incinerator if they have to comply with real standards for accountability.  Read on for the group's press release or check out a flyer summarizing the issue and the Clean Air Ordinance.

San Francisco reports record 80% diversion rate

This is from October 2012, but still worth celebrating. We keep dealing with communities where local officials want to pursue incineration (not realizing that it's the most expensive and polluting way to make energy or to dispose of waste) while they haven't even tried to get serious about zero waste programs (redesign / reduce / reuse / recycle / compost). San Francisco is leading the way, having managed to hit 80% diversion of waste from landfills and incinerators. Other communities, like Austin, Texas, have developed ambitious zero waste plans as well and find them economically viable even while competing with super-cheap landfilling fees of only $20/ton.  Read on for the news from San Francisco:

Genetically Engineered Trees for Bioenergy Pose Major Threat to Southern Forests [The Biomass Monitor]

Genetically Engineered Trees for Bioenergy Pose Major Threat to Southern Forests

-by Global Justice Ecology Project

In response to industry plans to develop eucalyptus plantations across the US South, environmental groups are raising serious concerns about the impacts of eucalyptus plantations on forests, rural communities, wildlife and the climate, especially if those trees are genetically engineered.

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  • The Ohio Biomess [The Biomass Monitor]

    - by Nathan Johnson, Buckeye Forest Council

    News broke on January 30th that Todd Snitchler, chairman of the Ohio Public Utilities Commission (PUCO) was a keynote speaker at the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) task-force meeting in April 2011. As many readers know, ALEC has been aggressively pushing for the repeal of renewable energy standards at state legislatures across the country. The PUCO determines whether Ohio-based energy projects, including biomass projects, receive renewable energy certification entitling them to renewable energy credits and satisfaction of the state’s renewable energy portfolio.

    Study: Permanent Increase in Atmospheric CO2 from Biomass Energy [The Biomass Monitor]

    - by Josh Schlossberg, The Biomass Monitor

    A new study out of Norway demonstrates what opponents of biomass energy have been saying for years: logging forests for bioenergy leads to a permanent increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide.

    Bjart Holtsmark’s study, “The outcome is in the assumptions: analyzing the effects on atmospheric CO2 levels of increased use of bioenergy from forest biomass,” published in Global Change Biology in 2012, provides compelling evidence that the expansion of industrial-scale biomass energy will exacerbate climate change.

    Photos Show Whole Trees Burned for Biomass Power [The Biomass Monitor]

    Photos Show Whole Trees Burned for Biomass Power

    - by Josh Schlossberg, The Biomass Monitor 

    New evidence has emerged once again proving that biomass power incinerators burn whole trees—not just wood “residues”—for fuel. The photographs below (taken in December 2012) show thousands of trees stacked and awaiting the chipper at Hemphill Power and Light, a 14-megawatt biomass power incinerator in Sullivan County, New Hampshire. Click here for more photos.

    Green Group Appeals California Biomass Proposal [The Biomass Monitor]

    Green Group Appeals California Biomass Proposal

    - by Josh Schlossberg, The Biomass Monitor

    Center for Biological Diversity, a national nonprofit environmental organization based in Arizona, is appealing a December 2012 Placer County Planning Commission decision to adopt a conditional use permit and certify the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Cabin Creek Biomass Energy Facility. Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) alleges that the EIR for the 2.2-megawatt biomass power incinerator “does not comply with the California Environmental Quality Act.”

    The Cellulosic Myth [The Biomass Monitor]

     The Cellulosic Myth

    - by Brian Tokar

    [Excerpted from "Biofuels and the Global Food Crisis," in Fred Magdoff and Brian Tokar, eds., Agriculture and Food in Crisis: Conflict Resistance, and Renewal, New York: MONTHLY REVIEW PRESS, 2010.] 

    Logging for biomass energy in Vermont

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