State Allowed Logging on Plateau Above Slope of Washington Mudslide

- by Mike Baker, Ken Armstrong, and Hal Bernton, March 25, 2014. Source: The Seattle Times

The plateau above the soggy hillside that gave way Saturday has been logged for almost a century, with hundreds of acres of softwoods cut and hauled away, according to state records.

But in recent decades, as the slope has become more unstable, scientists have increasingly challenged the timber harvests, with some even warning of possible calamity.

The state has continued to allow logging on the plateau, although it has imposed restrictions at least twice since the 1980s. The remnant of one clear-cut operation is visible in aerial photographs of Saturday’s monstrous mudslide. A triangle — 7½ acres, the shape of a pie slice — can be seen atop the destruction, its tip just cutting into where the hill collapsed.

Multiple factors can contribute to a slide.

With the hill that caved in over the weekend, geologists have pointed to the Stillaguamish River’s erosion of the hill’s base, or toe.

But logging can also play a role in instigating or intensifying a slide, by increasing the amount of water seeping into an unstable zone, according to an analysis of the watershed submitted to the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Some Biofuel Feedstock Estimates ‘Overstating’ Yields

- March 4, 2014. Source: Environmental Leader

Estimates for potential biofuel feedstock crop yields from some widely cited research studies may overstate those yields by as much as 100 percent, according to research by the International Council on Clean Transportation.

One key factor in developing a sustainable biofuels policy is to realistically estimate the amount of biomass that can on average be grown on a given amount of land to produce cellulosic biofuel. But Will energy crop yields meet expectations? found that the highest predicted yields, and associated expectations of how much biomass could be grown for energy, could not be supported by an overview of studies in this field.

JusticeMap - Save an Image

JusticeMap.org (beta), our website and set of race and income open map layers that lets you demonstrate economic and racial injustice, now lets you export the map to an image. This allows you to post it on your website, add it to your publication, share it on Facebook, Twitter, email, etc.

Firstly you customize the map to make it look like you want. Then you click on "Save as Image". You may need to allow popups for our website to get this to work. Then the browser will display the image in a new window. To finish, you can right click on the image to save it.

You can also export a higher resolution image by using our Advanced Mode. Customize the map and when you want to export it use the "Large Image" link. If you want the image to be even larger, you can zoom out in your browser before doing this. For instance, you could set your browser zoom to 50%. Though doing this will make the map slower (and the buttons harder to read).

We also have started supporting the OpenStreetMap base map layer. The OpenStreetMap is both an interesting community project and their terms of service allow for more uses of the data than Google does.

Group Descries Logging in Northampton, MA Watershed

- by Rebecca Everett, March 17, 2014. Source: Daily Hampshire Gazette

Chris Matera of Northampton said he was driving through Whately to go skiing two weeks ago when he noticed piles of fresh-cut logs at the mouth of a trail into a forest.

“I said, ‘Wait, isn’t that the watershed?,’” he recalled recently.

Matera, who heads a statewide group opposed to logging on publicly owned land called Massachusetts Forest Watch, was appalled to think Northampton was allowing logging on the watershed surrounding the Francis P. Ryan and West Whately reservoirs.

Biomass Industry Needs to Prepare for Water Constraints

- by Phil Ciciora, March 5, 2014. Source: University of Illinois News Office

Debates surrounding the sustainability of bioenergy have emerged in recent years relating to water quality and quantity, and those debates will only grow louder as big urban areas in the U.S. start running out of water and environmental groups and the Environmental Protection Agency push for more stringent policies to address nutrient pollution, said Jody Endres, a professor of bioenergy, environmental and natural resources law at Illinois.

“From a bioenergy standpoint, that’s when we’re going to have to figure out how we prioritize growing crops for bioenergy,” said Endres, who also is an affiliate of the Energy Biosciences Institute, a collaboration involving the U. of I., the University of California at Berkeley, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and BP, an energy company.

Biofuel Producer Warns of Default, Bankruptcy

- by Christopher Martin, March 18, 2014. Source: Bloomberg Businessweek

[Read more about Khosla: Cellulosic Ethanol: A Bio-Fool's Errand -Ed.]

Kior Inc. (KIOR:US), the Vinod Khosla-backed operator of the first U.S. commercial-scale cellulosic biofuel plant, fell the most on record after management told regulators they have serious doubts about staying in business.

Kior declined 41 percent to 63 cents at 10:23 a.m. in New York, the most intraday since its June 2011 initial public offering at $15.

The company needs additional capital by April 1 and its only potential source of near-term financing is a March 16 commitment letter from billionaire investor Khosla, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday.

220,000 acres of Colorado’s White River National Forest to be Logged for Biomass Energy

Demand for biomass energy in Colorado will require logging in 220,000 acres of the White River National Forest. -Ed.

- by Allen Best, March 6, 2014. Source: Mountain Town News

For most of the last decade, Coloradans have been talking about how to make good use of their mountain forests, dying and gray. Something is finally happening.

In Gypsum, 140 miles west of Denver, a biomass mill began operations in December, burning wood to create 10 megawatts of round-the-clock electricity.

In Colorado Springs, the city utility began mixing biomass with coal in January to produce 4.5 megawatts of power.

In Pagosa Springs, a 5-megawatt biomass plant may be launched next year, producing one-sixth of the base-load demand in Archuleta County

UK Biomass Project Halted, Developer Blames “erosion of support” for Biomass

UK biomass project halted, developer blames “erosion of support” for biomass

– by Nina Chestney, March 7, 2014. Source: Reuters

Renewable energy developer RES has stopped a 300-million-pound ($500 million) project to build a biomass plant in Northumberland, northeast England, due to what it called inconsistent government subsidies.

The 100-megawatt (MW) plant was scheduled to be built at the Port of Blyth, creating 300 construction jobs and 50 operational jobs, RES said.

The company received permission to build the project from the government last year.

"It's bitterly disappointing for RES that we are unable to bring this exciting project forward, and deliver the significant boost it would have represented for the Blyth and Northumberland economy," RES Chief Operating Officer Gordon MacDougall said in a statement.

"However, the gradual erosion of support for dedicated biomass leaves us with no other option," he added.

Fanning the Northeastern Biomass Flame

[The biomass industry is teaming up with environmentalists to increase the amount of forests burned for polluting energy in the Great North Woods.]
 
Fanning the Northeastern Biomass Flame
 
- by Joseph Seymour, March 11, 2014. Source: Biomass Magazine
 
Migrating 1 million homes to biomass heat is optimistic—let alone 6 million—but recent developments in the northeastern U.S. are driving this vision ever closer to reality, says Biomass Thermal Energy Council Executive Director Joseph Seymour.
 
Bill Strauss, the Biomass Thermal Energy Council’s chief economist, recently reported that 1.34 million jobs would be created if the 6 million rural homes using expensive fossil fuels like propane and heating oil switched to domestically produced wood pellet fuel. Migrating 1 million homes to biomass heating fuels is optimistic—let alone 6 million—but recent developments in the northeastern U.S. are driving this vision ever closer to reality.

Judith Johnsrud

Judith H. Johnsrud
OBITUARY FOR
DR. JUDITH H. JOHNSRUD
 
July 1, 1931 – March 9, 2014
 
Judith H. Johnsrud of State College, PA, a highly-respected hero to opponents of nuclear energy in the United States and around the world, was born July 1, 1931, and grew up in Hammond, Indiana.  As a teenager Judy, as she was known to her friends, was very interested in social justice – a concern that would permeate her life and set the course for her life’s work as an anti-nuclear activist and expert.
 
A former “professor” of geography, she sacrificed her own academic advancement, health, and financial well-being to write, speak and testify about the dangers of radiation. Considered by many to have been one of the best informed nuclear opponent in the U.S., Judy called for increasing radiation protection standards, the control of radioactive waste and an end to nuclear electric generation.  
 
Her many decades of activism included work on the geography of nuclear power and its entire system of production, utilization, and waste isolation; radiation impacts on humans and the environment; and the problems of sequestration of “high-level,” “low level,” and recycled radioactive wastes.
 
Beginning with her first anti-nuclear involvement in 1967, successfully fighting against Project Ketch (an Atomic Energy Commission proposal to explode 1,000 atomic bombs underground in northern  Pennsylvania to create  containments for natural gas --- and the first time in U.S. history that a citizens’ coalition successfully halted such a federal project) to her creation of the Environmental Coalition on Nuclear Power in 1970 and that group’s original intervention against the siting and licensing of Three Mile Island, to her active involvement in a multitude of projects over the decades, the breadth of Judy’s contributions is truly astounding. 
 
In what is a very partial list of “citizen nuclear successes” in Pennsylvania alone, Judy was a key player in the defeat of the Project Ketch Plowshare Project; the Meshoppen  Liquid Metal Fast Breeder Reactor; the Newbold Island reactor; Fulton 1 & 2 reactors; and the Energy Park proposal (10 candidate sites: 20,000 megawatts, 10 coal plants and 10 nuclear reactors); the decommissioning of the Quehanna, Waltz Mill, and Saxton Experimental reactors; the halt of the Quakertown Hatfield food irradiator and the Park Township plutonium fuel fabrication and radwaste incinerator; and the closure of the Kiski Valley Water Pollution Control Authority incinerator ash lagoon.  She was also instrumental in championing legislation, both in Pennsylvania and nationally, concerning the storage and measurement standards for nuclear waste products, testifying regularly before congressional committees.  Judy was very modest and humble and so few people knew of her accomplishments.
 
Judy devoted her life to fighting for the end of the era of nuclear power, worried deeply about the future of our species in an ever-thickening of the radiation environment.  As an expert on the biological and health effects of radiation exposure, she traveled twice to Chernobyl’s damaged Unit 4 complex and witnessed first-hand the wide range of health problems -- not just the cancers and leukemia -- affecting the region’s residents, especially the children, and did all she could to expose the lie of a “safe” level of radiation exposure.
 
An excellent speaker and educator, she spoke to groups large and small throughout the United States, as well as abroad, about the problems of radiation in general and, more specifically, of nuclear power, food irradiation, nuclear waste, and related subjects.  If an individual or group wanted her to speak, Judy was there, frequently at her own expense.  In addition to testifying before the U.S. Congress, she was also a guest speaker for parliamentary bodies and symposia in Europe, Japan, the former Soviet Union, Sweden, and other countries throughout the world.  
 
Judy fought not just against the releases of radioactive materials into our environment from nuclear power plants and incinerators, but also against their being recycling into products – from children’s toys to coins in our pockets to larger items to be found around us every day that constantly expose us to multiple sources, additive and cumulative radiation doses, with unknown, possibly synergistic, effects.
 

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