Obama Loves Biomass Thermal

- by Biomass Thermal Energy Council, March 23, 2015, Biomass Magazine

wood pellet biomass heating[Biomass industry groups overjoyed with the President’s most recent support for biomass energy. –Josh] 

The Biomass Thermal Energy Council  and the Pellet Fuels Institute (PFI) commend President Obama’s commitment to expanding the use of renewable thermal energy with the issuance of Executive Order “Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade.”

The Executive Order calls for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions across federal operations by at least 40 percent through 2025 through a broad host of measures, including building energy conservation, energy procurement inclusive of renewable thermal technology, and fleet management.

Mining the Soil for Biomass Energy | April issue of The Biomass Monitor

April showers bring...the April issue of The Biomass Monitor -- the nation’s leading publication covering the health and environmental impacts of biomass energy!

mining the soil for biomass energyInside this issue, “Mining the Soil for Biomass Energy”:

- Biomass: The Unsustainable Energy Source

-  Soil is Not Renewable

-  Save America’s Forests from Congress

...and more!

Please share the April 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!

 

 

 

Study: The Dark Side of Forest Carbon Sequestration

- by Josh Schlossberg, April 1, 2015, The Biomass Monitor

Science has taught us that humans and trees have a symbiotic relationship: humans and other living creatures exhale carbon dioxide, which trees absorb to produce oxygen, which we then breathe. It’s a perfect circle that maintains life on Earth as we know it. But a recent study out of Rhode Island’s Miskatonic University has identified an unsettling aspect of this natural process.

The study, Rapid Uptake of Carbon Dioxide by Northeastern Spruce-Fir Forests, by Dr. Howard Philips et. al., posits that trees aren’t simply sequestering carbon dioxide voluntarily exhaled by humans, mammals, and other creatures, but are generating a vacuum effect that virtually sucks CO2 from our lungs before we’re done breathing it. Medically speaking, the process accelerates breathing rates, causing shallow breathing, reducing oxygenation of the brain, blood, tissues, and organs. 

More California Biomass Facilities Closing

- by Seth Nidever, March 26, 2015, Hanford Sentinel

biomass in california[Notice not a single mention of health and environmental impacts of biomass facilities. -Josh] 

Once upon a time, local orchard farmers taking out trees piled them up in large heaps and struck a match, sending huge plumes of smoke into the air.

More recently, the waste has gone to biomass power plants that crank out electricity, meet stricter air pollution requirements and provide a renewable energy component.

But now that the whole biomass industry in California is threatened with extinction, the issue has become a hot topic in the ag industry.

Growers are asking: If you can’t burn orchard trees that have been removed, and you’ve got no biomass plant to send them to, where does it all go?

Plainfield, Vermont Biomass Continues to Rile Neighbors

- by Eric Blaisdell, March 27, 2015, Vermont Public Radio

biomass Things got so heated at Plainfield’s Select Board meeting Monday night in a discussion about Goddard College’s planned biomass-fueled heat plant, that one elected official told board members they’d be in “deep water” if they disregarded some residents’ wishes to have another meeting on it.

The school is applying for a 40-year Rural Development loan from the USDA that would cover 90 percent of the costs for the plant. As part of that process, it needs a letter of support from the town.

Goddard emailed the Select Board on Thursday looking for that support. Chairman Bram Towbin, speaking for himself, replied that the school has “mishandled the community relations aspect of this project” by not telling residents what was going on since the project began. Towbin invited someone from Goddard to attend the board’s meeting Monday to plead its case.

Residents who live near the plant’s site have been fighting it every step of the way. On Town Meeting Day in March 2013, voters rejected a nonbinding article asking the college to halt construction until it could be proven the nanoparticles emitted would be harmless. The debate got nasty, with neighbors accusing each other of being “liars,” “losers” and “jerks.”

Save America's Forests and Wild Lands from Anti-Environmental Congress

save america's forestsThe logging, grazing, mining and other extractive industries are mounting an intense attack on our nation's public lands. 
 
The December 2014 lame duck session of Congress saw an ugly brew of anti-conservation initiatives removing legal conservation protection from millions of acres of public lands. But this was just the tip of the oncoming extractive industries iceberg.
 
With Republican capture of the Senate in the 2014 election, the goal of the ultra right wing to privatize public lands may soon become reality. Representative Peter DeFazio’s legislation to virtually privatize and allow clearcutting on one million acres of federal land in Oregon could pass into law in the new Congress and become a model for the rest of our public lands. This anti-conservation juggernaut must be stopped. The landmark environmental and conservation laws that for a half century gave some protection to our public lands are eroding, and will disappear like the glaciers in Glacier National Park or the polar ice caps unless we, the hardcore grassroots, unite and fight back in a coordinated national campaign. 

Radioactive Spikes from Nuclear Plants a Likely Cause of Childhood Leukemia

- by Dr. Ian Fairlie, Ecologist

safe nuclear power?On 23rd August, The Ecologist published very clear evidence of increased cancers among children living near nuclear power stations around the world, including the UK.

The story sparked much interest on social media sites, and perhaps more importantly, the article's scientific basis (published in the academic peer-reviewed scientific journal the Journal of Environmental Radioactivity) was downloaded over 500 times by scientists.

Given this level of interest and the fact that the UK government is still pressing ahead with its bizarre plans for more nuclear stations, we return to this matter - and examine in more detail an important aspect which has hitherto received little attention: massive spikes in radioactive emissions from nuclear reactors.

$629 Million in Taxpayer Dollars for Bioenergy

- by Erin Voegele, March 19, 2015, Ethanol Producer Magazine

burning moneyOn March 12, the U.S. Energy Information Administration published a report on direct federal financial interventions and subsidies in energy for fiscal year (FY) 2103. The report, which responds to a request from Reps. Fred Upton, R-Mich., chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy and Power, is an update of two earlier EIA reports covering FY 2007 and FY 2010.

Overall, the report finds the total value of direct financial interventions and subsidies in the energy markets decreased by nearly 25 percent between FY 2010 and FY 2013, declining from $38 billion to $29.3 billion. In FY 2010, $11.69 billion in subsidies were electricity related, with $10.7 billion in subsidies for fuels used outside the electricity sector and $15.57 billion in subsidies for conservation, end uses, and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program. In FY 2013, the breakdown included $16.11 billion in electricity-related subsidies, with $5.21 billion in subsidies for fuels used outside the electricity sector and $7.94 billion in subsidies for conservation, end uses, and LIHEAP.

Montana Logging Collaborative Fails Restoration Goals

- by George Wuerthner, March 15, 2015, The Wildlife News

The Forest Service (FS), the timber industry and some environmental groups formed a collaborative groups several years ago known as the Southwest Crown of the Continent (SWCC). The goal ostensibly is to promote healthy ecosystems, but the real goal is to increase logging in the Seeley-Swan and Lincoln areas. The SWCC “restoration” objectives appear to be in direct conflict with sound science and well established principles.

The collaborative first misinterprets ecological parameters to create a problem that they can solve with logging. Then the logging creates extra problems like spread of weeds on logging roads, which in turn requires more management. It is a self-fulfilling management that damages our forest ecosystems, and wastes tax payer money to subsidize private timber interests.

Garden Variety Environmentalism: The Band-Aid Wing of the Green Growth Economy

- by Michael Donnelly, March 13, 2015, Counterpunch

It was 60+ degrees and sunny – had been for weeks – in western  Oregon, as I arrived in Eugene for the annual Public Interest Environmental Law Conference (PIELC) at the University of Oregon Law School – the planet’s oldest such conference. The conference, attended by over 3000 attorneys, activists, wonks and government officials, is put on by law students at the U of O. Other students from other top environmental law schools (Lewis and Clark, Vermont Law …) also pitch in organizing and moderating panel discussions. The organizers did a remarkable job juggling speakers, attendees and all the little things necessary.

While suffering from a bigger than usual allergy attack brought on by many types of trees and flowering plants budding out at the same time; I, as usual, perused the conference brochure for panels and Keynote addresses that would take on the big eco-threats of the day.

Out of over 200 panel presentations and twelve Keynote speakers, there were  1) three panels on citizen  activism (two at the same time); 2) one panel on Consumption; 3) one panel on Population; 4) one on the “false solution” of “Green” Energy;…and NONE at all on Biomass/Biofuels! Not at all promising.

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