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Report: Carbon Neutral Biomass a Scam

A new report by Spain-based Carbon Trade Watch critiques plans by the United Kingdom government and European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) to ramp up industrial-scale biomass energy production under the guise of “carbon neutrality,” despite its massive greenhouse gas emissions and threats to public health and global biodiversity. An estimated 80 to 300 million tons of wood would be required to fuel the planned expansion of bioenergy incineration in the UK, much of which would be sourced outside the country, including from the United States and the global South.

Mapping Carbon Trading in Europe and Corporate Profits

Sandbag Climate Campaign has a map of carbon trading in Europe and several other amazing maps. They have a Video Tutorial for the carbon trading map.

Poultry Power Poops Out in North Carolina

(Source: Mary Anderson, Courier-Tribune)

A 36 megawatt biomass incinerator that would have burned poultry feces is no longer being considered for Biscoe, North Carolina, to the relief of Montgomery and Moore County residents and grassroots community groups, such as Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL), which opposed the project.

The developer, Poultry Power, a subsidiary of the Florida-based Green Frontier, cited the costs of hauling manure to the facility as the major impediment to construction and claimed to be looking at sites closer to their sources.

“Residents have been spared decreased air quality, increased odor, increases in spills and heavy truck traffic,” said Therese Vick of BREDL. As with the burning of any form of “biomass,” conventional air pollutants released from poultry manure incinerators include particulate matter, nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide, generally at higher levels than coal burning power plants. 

Nurse Speaks Out on Biomass Health Threats

- by Debbie Martinez, RN, Gainesville, Florida

As a registered nurse I find it alarming that Alachua County’s huge medical community has remained silent on dangerous smokestack emissions as more research now demonstrates that air pollution from the city’s planned biomass incinerator will pose a significant health risk to adults, children and the unborn within a 200 mile radius of GRU’s Deerhaven site.

On April 4, pediatrician Bill Sammons came to Gainesville to present growing data that describes how tiny nano-particles of numerous toxic incinerator emissions can travel through the lungs, into the bloodstream and lodge in vital organs — including the brain. The consequence of breathing these particulates is increased incidence of heart disease, cancer and neurological disorders like autism.

Go to the Facebook group page Gainesville Biomass Plant Issues to hear Dr. Sammons’ interview and find out more.

Florida Trash Incinerator Proposal Bites the Dust

(Source: Laurie K. Blandford and Anthony Westbury, TC Palm)

A trash incinerator proposal for St. Lucie, Florida has fallen through following a unanimous decision by the St. Lucie County Commissioners to terminate the contract with Georgia-based Geoplasma, citing economic concerns. The 24 megawatt incinerator would’ve incinerated 600 tons of trash per day using a technology called plasma arc, which turns garbage into a gas and slag, a solid waste byproduct.

“Fortunately, the health of St. Lucie County residents will not be jeopardized since the incinerator won’t be built,” said Dr. Ron Saff, an asthma specialist based in Tallahassee, who had opposed the facility along with other area medical professionals. Saff offers his thanks to “the local medical community…who took a bold stand in St. Lucie County against the incinerator. This certainly helped win the battle.”

County Commissioners are now in negotations with New Jersey based incinerator developer, Covanta Energy Corporation, to build a thermal conversion facility at the county landfill to process municipal solid waste.

Are Massachusetts’ New Biomass Regulations Strong Enough?

The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources finally released its long awaited and much delayed biomass regulations, garnering both cautious praise and criticism from grassroots biomass opponents. The regulations have disqualified stand-alone biomass power facilities from receiving Renewable Energy Certificates—a ratepayer subsidy under the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard—though incentives are still available for combined heat and power facilities operating at 50% efficiency, that burn whole trees along with logging “residues.”

Mapping the Anti-Fracking Movement in NY State

This social movement map from FracTracker on anti-fracking ordinances is very inspiring:

Click on it to zoom in and get the details!

Occupy Earth Day: An Expose of the Corporate Propaganda Systems that Undermine Systemic Change Activism

This Earth Day, like so many others, we'll be invited to pick up litter, plant trees, be reminded to recycle, and countless other personal habits we can adopt to save the earth. Corporations pitching "green" products will bust out their "Lorax-approved" logos and encourage our "green" consumption.

This will be the first Earth Day since the Occupy Wall Street movement took form. How can we Occupy Earth Day – or as our Indigenous colleagues have urged us all to rename Occupy... how can we Decolonize Earth Day? To get to the root of this (in other words, take a "radical" approach), we need to look deeper into how Earth Day, and our broader culture, got colonized.

To Win Ohio and Pennsylvania, Obama Must Oppose Fracking

by Alex Lotorto

This morning, I was sipping coffee and watching Sunday morning talk shows with my parents. We talked about the presidential election when my dad muted the commercial breaks that consistently included fossil fuel industry commercials.

My mom put it simply, "I made phone calls, put up posters, and worked at the [Obama] campaign office in 2008. I won't do that again if he supports fracking. He needs to protect our clean water, public health, and well-being."

Hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking", is used to extract the gas from a rock layer called the Marcellus Shale and in at least 32 states in the country. The biggest corporations in the world have their sites on shale gas plays and the gas trapped in them, including Exxon Mobil, BP, Shell, Chevron, and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC).

The vast grassroots organizing efforts to stop fracking, despite being largely unfunded by traditional Big Green environmental groups that have promoted natural gas as a bridge fuel to a clean energy future for years, have carried their weight in the pitched battle against drilling and are going to play a major part in 2012 kingmaking in swing states like Ohio and Pennsylvania.

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