Lawsuits Likely as EPA Declares US Ethanol Blend Wall a 'Reality'

Lawsuits Likely as EPA Declares US Ethanol Blend Wall a 'Reality'

- by Cezary Podkul, October 11, 2013. Source: Reuters

With two words, the U.S. environment regulator may be handing oil refiners the biggest win of a long battle to beat back the seemingly inexorable rise of ethanol fuel.

In a leaked proposal that would significantly scale back biofuel blending requirements next year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says the blend wall - the 10 percent threshold of ethanol-mixed gasoline that is at the crux of the lobbying war - is an "important reality".

The agency's rationale for a cut in the volume of ethanol that must be blended echoes an argument the oil industry has been making for months: the U.S. fuel chain cannot absorb more ethanol.

Few retailers are able to sell ethanol blends beyond the 10 percent maximum, or willing to take the legal risk that comes with it, they argue.

Report on Genetically Engineered "Factory" Trees

Genetically Engineered “Factory Trees”: Sustainable Way Forward or Dangerous Diversion?

-by Center for Food Safety

Center for Food Safety (CFS) is pleased to offer a new report, Genetically Engineered Trees: The New Frontier of Biotechnologywhich explores potential ecological and socioeconomic hazards of genetically engineered (GE) trees.

As you may know, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is considering whether to allow unrestricted planting of the first GE forest tree:  eucalyptus engineered by ArborGen to grow in colder climates.  If approved, this would allow eucalyptus to be grown throughout the Southeast for the first time, where short-rotation plantations would be established to provide pulp for paper and biomass for energy.

A variety of other GE trees are in the research pipeline, suggesting that “factory forests” are on the horizon.

Protecting Land From Gas Companies

-by Dough Pflugh

Supreme Court Preserves Victory Over Oil/Gas Development

It is rewarding to successfully wrap-up a case. This can be especially true when our work protects special places, preserving them for future generations. It is a pleasure to be able to point at a map and say, “Those are the places that were saved.”

The U.S. Supreme Court took action last week that did just that—endorsing an earlier conservation victory and ending the long fight over proposed oil and gas development on the doorstep of beloved public lands in the west.

Biomass Incinerator Noise a Nightmare to Neighbors [The Biomass Monitor]

Biomass Incinerator Noise a Nightmare to Neighbors 

- by Josh Schlossberg, The Biomass Monitor

A “continuous roar.” Jet planes “revving” up for takeoff. Being on an “aircraft carrier during operations.” That’s how neighbors of the Gainesville Renewable Energy Center (GREC) describe the noise coming from the 100 megawatt biomass incinerator’s initial test runs.

Victims of the Biomass Plant [The Biomass Monitor]

Victims of the Biomass Plant 

- by Judy Hooker

The city of Gainesville government isn't the intelligent, forward thinking group I would have imagined. Is it somehow cool to victimize an otherwise beautiful community for financial gain? People and wildlife alike will pay a huge price for your callous actions.

I am speaking of the Turkey Creek area that was selected for extinction by way of a biomass wood-burning plant. This plant sounds like a jet plane and looks like my idea of hell. But I don't think noise is the worst of many unwelcome gifts from this plant. As I sat on my porch recently, I was assaulted by a smell in the air. As I approached the front gate in my car later, I smelled the same odor again. Who is planning to monitor this monstrosity? 

OSHA: Berlin, NH Biomass Contractors Put Workers At Risk

OSHA: Berlin, NH Biomass Contractors Put Workers At Risk

- by Chris Jensen, October 21, 2013. Source: New Hampshire Public Radio

Federal officials say six companies building a biomass plant in Berlin have put workers at risk by not following safety regulations.

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration proposes fining the companies about $280,000 for thirty-one “willful, serious and repeat violations of workplace safety standards.”

“These hazards included potential cave-ins, falls, scaffold collapse, crushing, exposure to lead and electrocution hazards,” said OSHA spokesman Ted Fitzgerald.

Questions Remain About Future of Texas Biomass Incinerator

Questions remain about future of biomass facility

- by Rhonda Oaks, October 20, 2013. Source: The Lufkin News

Since a judge’s ruling in May allowed an outside management company to assume control of the idled Aspen Power plant in North Lufkin, many citizens have questioned the status of the 57-megawatt facility that was intended to be the state’s first wood-waste biomass electricity generation plant in Texas. Those questions have gone unanswered by officials of U.S. Bank, InventivEnergy, the management company in charge of the company’s fate, and Danny Vines, owner of Aspen Power, who was millions of dollars behind in bond payments in May.

UK Wood Pellet Port Catches Fire

UK Wood Pellet Port Catches Fire

October 11, 2013. Source: The Shields Gazette

PORT of Tyne bosses have said a riverside blaze that sparked a major fire alert is now under control.About 50 firefighters were called to the Port at around 3pm on Friday to tackle a blaze in a storage shed containing biomass pellets.

A spokeswoman for the Port said: “Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue service attended a fire at a cargo-handling building at the Port of Tyne.

“There was no damage to property and there was minimal impact on port operations.

“The fire was brought under control and contained within the facility.

Biomass Energy Takes Share of $7 Billion in U.S. Army Contracts

Biomass energy takes share of $7 billion in U.S. Army contracts

- by Anna Simet, September 24, 2013. Source: Biomass Magazine

Out of 52 bids submitted to acquire a share of $7 billion in energy contracts offered by the U.S. Army, 13 biomass companies have been selected.

Contract awardees include Acciona Energy North America Corp., Chicago, Ill.; ECC Renewables LLC, Burlingame, Calif.; EDF Renewable Energy, San Diego, Calif.; Emerald Infrastructure, San Antonio, Texas; Energy Answers International Inc., Albany, N.Y. ; EIF United States Power Fund IV L.P., Needham, Mass.; Energy Management Inc., Boston, Mass.;  Honeywell International Inc., Golden Valley, Minn.; MidAmerican/Clark Joint Venture, Bethesda, Md.; Pacolet Milliken Enterprises Inc., Spartanburg, S.C.; Siemens Government Technologies Inc., Arlington, Va.; Stronghold Engineering, Riverside, Calif., and Energy Systems Group LLC, Newburgh, Ind.

Fire Erupts at Missouri Wood Pellet Facility

Fire erupts at the MFA Biomass plant in Aurora

- by Paula Morehouse, October 13, 2013. Source: KY3

The state fire marshal is investigating a fire on Sunday at the MFA Biomass plant in Aurora, Missouri.     

The owner told KY3 News no one was hurt in the fire. The facility was not in operation on Sunday.

Owner Dustin Dover said the damage is visible on the outside of the building.  He declined to release any other information about the fire.

The MFA Biomass plant converts sawdust into pellets for wood burning stoves.

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