Biomass Moratorium Called for in Oregon

- by Save Our Rural Oregon

Due to the Clean Air Act violations both Klamath Falls and Lakeview, Oregon have experienced this winter, Save Our Rural Oregon is requesting an emergency moratorium on proposed biomass and biofuels projects in both communities.

Letters have been forwarded to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber, asking for their support of an emergency moratorium on biomass and biofuels projects in both Klamath Falls and Lakeview. The letter asks for a stay on the issuance of any new or modified air quality discharge permit related to biomass and biofuels projects and on awarding site certificates on those projects not yet adjudicated by the Oregon Energy Facilities Siting Council.

Burlington, Vermont Ignores Biomass Emissions

- by Josh Schlossberg, Energy Justice Network

It’s good news that IBM is helping Burlington, Vermont lower its impact on the climate. [“IBM Wants to Help Burlington Reduce Its Carbon Footprint,” Seven Days, March 27]. Unfortunately, the city’s refusal to fix glaring errors in its Climate Action Plan prevents an honest look at Burlington’s actual contributions to runaway global climate change.

Biomass Battle Casts Spotlight on Environmental Justice [The Biomass Monitor]

- by Josh Schlossberg, The Biomass Monitor

Sometimes what seems like defeat in the short term can actually turn out to be victory in the long run. One such case involves the opposition to the construction of Seneca Sawmill’s biomass power incinerator in Eugene, Oregon. While the facility fired up its smokestacks for the first time in 2011, the effort to educate neighborhood residents about the health threats of the industrial polluter morphed into a powerful environmental justice movement in the low-income community surrounding the facility.

Alison Guzman (center) and Lisa Arkin (left) of Beyond Toxics in Eugene, Oregon

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.

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