Call for Submissions: Energy Justice Now

In June 2014, Energy Justice Network will be launching Energy Justice Now — a first-of-its kind publication reporting on the entire spectrum of the dirty energy resistance and highlighting the voices of community organizers battling fossil fuels, nuclear power, and biomass and trash incineration from sea to shining sea. 

We are accepting submissions (200-1,000 words) on any topic relevant to dirty energy — nuclear, gas, coal, oil, biomass/trash — with priority given to original content (we also accept reprints) that is national in scope and addresses more than one source of energy. 

We also also accepting photos, graphics, memes, illustrations, and cartoons revelant to the movement.

Please send submissions or queries to Josh [at] EnergyJustice [dot] net. 

Since 1999, Energy Justice Network has worked with communities across the U.S. to oppose every kind of dirty energy facility — from coal and natural-gas fired plants, to nuclear reactors, to biomass and trash incinerators — to protect human health and the natural world that keeps us alive.

Stay tuned for June 2014 and the birth of Energy Justice Now — because clean energy can’t come out of a smokestack!

In solidarity,

Mike Ewall, Josh Schlossberg, Rachel Smolker, and Samantha Chirillo

Editors, Energy Justice Now

Biomass Energy: More Harm Than Good [The Biomass Monitor: May 2014]

May 2014 issue of The Biomass Monitor: BIOMASS ENERGY: MORE HARM THAN GOOD
 
In the May 2014 issue of The Biomass Monitor (the world's leading publication tracking the health & environmental impacts of "biomass" energy):
 
-"Trees Are Not the Solution to Our Electricity Needs"
 
-"Public Lands, Dirty Energy"
 
-"Climate Report Leaves Hopes Hanging on Fantasy Tech"
 
...and more!!!
 
Please share the May 2014 issue of The Biomass Monitor with your friends, colleagues, and neighbors!
 
CLICK HERE to subscribe to monthly emails from The Biomass Monitor.

Intergovernmental Climate Report Leaves Hopes Hanging on Fantasy Technology

- by Rachel Smolker,  Biofuelwatch 

This year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has confirmed for us, once again, that the planet is warming, even more and even faster than panel members thought. In fact, it is getting even warmer even faster than they thought the last time they admitted to having underestimated the problem. We humans are in deep trouble, and finding a way out of this mess - one that will ensure a decent future for us - is becoming increasingly difficult, if not nearly impossible. 

 

That difficult task is what the latest installment from IPCC, the Working Group 3 report on mitigation is intended to address. This past weekend, the "summary for policymakers" was released after the mad rush of government negotiations over the scientists' text took place in Berlin last week.

Welcome to Energy Justice Now!

Welcome to Energy Justice Now, Energy Justice Network's first monthly newsletter!

Energy Justice Now will provide critical reporting on the entire spectrum of the dirty energy resistance, highlighting the voices of community organizers battling fossil fuels, nuclear power, and biomass and waste incineration from sea to shining sea. We are accepting submissions at niaby [at] energyjustice [dot] net.

Some of you are on our email discussion lists while others may not have heard from us in years. We're happy to now be at a point where we can engage and support more people, and let you all know what we're doing.

Energy Justice Network exists to build, support and network grassroots community organizations fighting dirty and unnecessary energy and waste industry facilities. We've helped communities win victories against coal and gas-fired power plants, incinerators of every sort (trash, 'biomass,' tires, poultry waste, sewage sludge, medical waste...), landfills, fracking, pipelines, refineries, ethanol biorefineries, nuclear facilities and more.

Our approach includes connecting people fighting similar industries so that they're helping one another as a network, rather than our trying to only provide top-down support. Through network-building, we help bring people from a Not In My Backyard (NIMBY) mindset to a Not in Anyone's Backyard (NIABY) approach toward dirty technologies for which clean alternatives exist.

In 2006, we pulled together the nation's first and only grassroots "No New Coal Plants" network, contributing to the defeat of 85% of 200+ coal power plant proposals. We also brought together a national grassroots movement against "biomass" incinerators (burning trees, wood waste, poultry waste and more), and saw 45 proposals for biomass and other waste incinerators defeated within our network just since 2010. We hope to do the same soon for those fighting the hundreds of gas-fired power plants now proposed. Without the big money other groups have to bring people together for national conferences, we've connected people via email discussion lists and conference calls.

Our work focuses on providing tools grassroots community activists need to win. This includes providing strategy and organizing advice, research support, information of many sorts (on problems with technologies and fuels, corporate track records, relevant public policies...), speaking/training, local environmental ordinances, mapping tools, connecting student and community activists, and much more. For more info, see our website for our history, accomplishments and to learn about the services we provide.

Poll: 61% of Americans Clueless about Biomass Energy

[Take a look at the Harris Poll here. - Ed.]

- by Erin Voegele, March 28, 2014. Source: Biomass Magazine

A recently released Harris Poll addresses public perception of a variety of energy technologies, including biomass energy. The results show that many U.S. adults are unfamiliar with biomass energy and its benefits.

Within its results, the company called biomass the “biggest question mark” on the survey, as 61 percent of adults surveyed said they were not at all sure of its risks or benefits. Approximately 29 percent, however, said they feel the benefits of biomass outweigh its risks. Only 9 percent of those polled said they believe the risks of biomass outweigh its benefits.

Trees Are Not the Solution to Our Electricity Needs

- by Marvin Roberson, April 27, 2014. Source: Detroit Free Press

There is a lot of concern in Michigan, especially the Upper Peninsula, about meeting future electrical needs. Many aging, polluting coal plants are soon to go offline, as they should. New coal plants are unlikely to replace them, and would be a poor choice even if feasible.

There is, and should be, significant focus on energy efficiency and renewable sources of electricity. A portion of our future needs is likely to be met through biomass electricity generation. Biomass electricity is generated by burning plants.

Fire at Brand New Biomass Incinerator in Rothschild, Wisconsin

[Read our article "Biomass Industry Plays with Fire, Gets Burned," compiling all the biomass-related fires up until May 2013...it's getting hard to keep up - Ed.]

-April 11, 2014. Source: Wasau Daily Herald

ROTHSCHILD — Firefighters extinguished a blaze that ignited in a dust collector at the Domtar biomass power plant early Friday morning.

Rothschild Fire Department crews responded to the plant just before 4:30 a.m., said Chief Marc Hill. When crews got to the plant, a fire was burning inside the dust collector and smoke was coming out of the structure. No one was injured in the blaze, but it took fire crews about three hours to completely put out the fire.

A ladder truck from the SAFER fire station in Weston and its crew also responded to the fire, Hill said.

The fire apparently started after some wood became caught in a giant shredder called a hog, Hill said. The friction caused by the material and machinery created heat and sparks, which were pulled into the dust collector through a collection system. The fire started quickly in the dust collector, Hill said.

Aborted Fetuses Sent to Oregon, Incinerated for Energy

[No intention of getting into pro-choice vs. pro-life discussion--it's just important to know where your energy comes from. -Ed.]

- by Joe Schaeffer, April 23, 2014. Source: Newsmax

Aborted human fetuses are being shipped from British Columbia to the United States, where they are incinerated to provide electricity for Oregon residents.

The British Columbia Health Ministry has admitted the fetuses are ending up in a waste-to-power facility that provides power to Oregonians, LifeSiteNews reports.

The Health Ministry disclosed in an email to the B.C. Catholic, the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Vancouver, that "biomedical waste" sent to the U.S. for incineration includes "human tissue, such as surgically removed cancerous tissue, amputated limbs, and fetal tissue."

Dirty Biomass Facility Proposed for Nebraska

- by Erin Voegele, April 25, 2014. Source: Biomass Magazine

A proposed project under development by Southwest Renewable Resources aims to develop a unique biomass fuel production facility and up to 25 MW of bioenergy capacity in South Sioux City, Neb.

Earlier this year, the Nebraska cities of South Sioux City, Wakefield and Wayne, along with the Northeast Public Power District, entered a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with SRR. Under the MOU, the four public entities and SRR have agreed to work together to supplies electricity to the three cities and NEPP via a biomass-fired cogeneration system.

Public Lands, Dirty Energy

- by Josh Schlossberg, Energy Justice Now

Grassroots advocates have done a bang up job alerting the American public to the disturbing health and environmental impacts of the extraction, transportation, and generation of dirty energy (fossil fuels, nuclear power, and biomass/trash incineration). Greenhouse gases, air pollution, and water contamination from energy sources requiring smokestacks or cooling towers have become common knowledge to all but the willfully ignorant.

However, to achieve a critical mass of action that will influence public policy and shift private investment away from energy sources that cause more harm than good, dirty energy opponents must find common threads to weave the fabric of the movement together.

One such thread involves the harmful impacts dirty energy poses to the forests, prairies, and deserts on public lands that belong to every U.S. citizen.

Musical Chairs

All too often activists fighting one sector of the dirty energy industry will ignore — and occasionally advocate for — yet another type of dirty energy, invalidating many of the very concerns they profess, confusing the public, and harming the overall movement.

For instance, when anti-coal campaigners give a pass to biomass energy, the coal industry gets away with toasting trees in their coal-fired power plants. By endorsing (or allowing) biomass incineration, anti-coal activists contradict their own talking points about air pollution from coal, since trees or other forms of “biomass” actually emit higher levels of deadly particulate matter per unit of energy than the dirtiest fossil fuel. Ironically, a coal facility that starts burning biomass may result in the facility operating longer than it would have otherwise —  continuing to burn more coal along with trees.

The same dynamic is at work when biomass energy opponents insist that natural gas would be a better fuel to burn in a power plant. How can the public, policymakers, and the media take biomass busters’ worries about climate and watersheds seriously when they are in favor of an energy source that leaks vast amounts of methane — a greenhouse gas that is eighty-six times more potent than carbon dioxide over a twenty-year period  — and can be responsible for groundwater contamination through hydraulic fracturing?

Or how about organizations that oppose fossil fuels because of threats to health and the environment while turning a blind eye — and in some ways opening the door — to the riskiest method of energy generation in the world: nuclear power?

In the long run, the lack of a unified dirty energy resistance allows industry to keep proposing facilities in towns without organized resistance to a particular fuel source — a kind of musical chairs where, when the music stops, no chairs are missing. 

Common Ground

Despite the valiant efforts of dirty energy opponents, climate change, air pollution, groundwater contamination, and forest destruction keep getting worse while the corporations who perpetrate these environmental crimes upon the American people keep getting stronger. Whatever we’re doing obviously isn’t working; it’s time to circle the wagons.

The key to movement solidarity is finding common ground between anti-fossil fuels, anti-nuclear and anti-incineration efforts. One such strategy — and by no means the only — literally involves finding “common ground”: public lands. While the extraction, transportation, and generation of dirty energy occurs mainly on “private” land, the exploitation of each energy source also impacts National Forests, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) tracts, and other publicly-owned lands.

The nuclear power industry mines uranium on BLM lands while pushing to dump their deadly radioactive waste in places like Yucca Mountain in Nevada, which includes public land.

An increasing percentage of fracking for natural gas takes place on BLM lands, as does some coal mining. Alaska BLM lands are routinely drilled for oil, and despite BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster, offshore oil drilling continues. When the energy profiteers aren’t bleeding public lands for fossil fuels, they’re building pipelines through it. 

Meanwhile, more and more acres of National Forests and BLM lands are being logged to fuel polluting biomass incinerators, with the biomass and timber industry exploiting the fear of wildfire and insects to “get out the cut” before and after these naturally occurring events.  

And no matter the energy source, industry wants to hack transmission lines through our public treasures.

Come Together — Right Now

Each separate component of the dirty energy resistance — anti-fossil fuels, anti-nuke, anti-biomass/trash incineration — has tried going it alone with individual campaigns pointing out the ills of one dirty energy source, and pretending the others don't exist. While there’s been some positive traction over the years, the only way we’re going to get up the mountain is through mutual support.  

Extraction-free public lands solidarity is just one of many ways to link the movement together. 

Pages

Subscribe to Energy Justice Network RSS