China's Coal Problem

Photo of a traffic policeman signaling to drivers during a smoggy day in Harbin, China.

Christina Nunez

National Geographic

Published October 22, 2013

Choked with smog that shut down roads, schools, and its main airport, the city of Harbin (map) this week offered a striking reminder that China has a long way to go in addressing the hazards caused by its dependence on coal.

Visibility in the northeastern city of more than 10 million people reportedly was reduced in places toless than 65 feet (20 meters) as coal-fired heating systems ramped up for the winter months. Officials also pointed to farmersburning crop stubble and low winds as additional causes for the pollution crisis.

New York is getting brighter!

By: Kristofer Settle Nov 2, 2013 Source: the energy collective

NYC Streetlight Efficiency

The streets of New York City will be a little brighter (literally) over the next few years.

Last week NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan announced a new effort to replace the city’s current amber streetlights for white, more energy-efficient light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs throughout the five boroughs. The switch will result in the installation of a quarter-million new lights with a goal of completing the task within the next four years. The effort goes hand-in-hand with Bloomberg’s long-term sustainability PlaNYC plan to reduce greenhouse emissions though city operations by thirty percent, which it also aims to accomplish by 2017.

The installations are estimated to cost around $76.5 million to complete, most of which will be funded through NYC’s Accelerated Conservation and Efficiency (ACE) Initiative. Despite the cost, the benefits over time are substantial for the city’s bottom line, as well as its carbon footprint.

Yosemite’s Burned Areas Are Alive

Yosemite’s Burned Areas Are Alive

- by Chad Hanson, October 3, 2013. Source: Los Angeles Times

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"137","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","style":"width: 333px; height: 266px; margin-left: 7px; margin-right: 7px; float: left;","title":"Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images"}}]]It was entirely predictable. Even before the ashes have cooled on the 257,000-acre Rim fire in and around Yosemite this year, the timber industry and its allies in Congress were using the fire as an excuse for suspending environmental laws and expanding logging operations on federal land.

"The Yosemite Rim fire is a tragedy that has destroyed 400 square miles of our forests," said Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Elk Grove) in announcing a bill he introduced late last month that would expedite massive taxpayer-subsidized clear-cutting on federal public lands in the fire area. "If any good can come of this tragedy, it would be the timely salvage of fire-killed timber that could provide employment to local mills and desperately needed economic activity to mountain communities."

Commission Revises Archaeological Conditions for Hu Honua Bioenergy

Commission Revises Archaeological Conditions for Hu Honua Bioenergy

- by Tom Callis, October 4, 2013. Source: Hawaii Tribune-Herald

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"136","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","style":"width: 333px; height: 255px; margin-left: 7px; margin-right: 7px; float: left;"}}]]The Hu Honua Bioenergy project was back before the Windward Planning Commission briefly Thursday.

Third Circuit Court Judge Greg Nakamura, who is handling the appeal of a contested case hearing regarding the 21.5-megawatt biomass power plant under construction near Pepeekeo, had remanded the case back to the commission to clarify permit conditions regarding archaeological issues.

The commission voted 5-0 to adopt supplemental conditions submitted by Hu Honua Bioenergy LLC requiring the company to follow a final archaeological inventory survey completed in May rather than a three-year-old preliminary document.

Biomass Injustice

Two Biomass Injustices

- by Ron Saff, M.D., October 27, 2013. Source: Gainesville Sun

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"34","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","style":"width: 333px; height: 246px; margin-left: 7px; margin-right: 7px; float: left;"}}]]Turkey Creek residents face two deep injustices: health risks from air pollution and noise pollution. Tons of carcinogens will soon belch from the biomass plant. In a 2009 letter to then-Sen. John Kerry, the American Lung Association stated that biomass burning releases toxic gasses that can cause cancer and scar the lungs. The letter concludes, “Given the technology and natural resources available to us, we do not believe that anyone should have to choose between electric power and their health.”

Noise pollution also has numerous health harms. According to the World Health Organization, prolonged noise pollution may result in permanent effects such as hypertension and ischemic heart disease and the accelerated development of latent mental disorders.

Anti-G.E. Trees Group Censored by University of Florida

Environmental group kicked off UF campus

- by Jeff Schweers, October 28, 2013. Source: Gainesville Sun

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"135","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","style":"width: 335px; height: 287px; margin-left: 7px; margin-right: 7px; float: left;"}}]]An environmental group that was scheduled to make a presentation on Monday at the University of Florida on genetically engineered trees was kicked off campus over the weekend and its members threatened with arrest and banned for three years.

Organizers with the Global Justice Ecology Project had come to campus Saturday to check out the room they had booked at the McKnight Brain Institute, said Rachel Kijewski, an organizer with Everglades Earth First of Lake Worth and one of several scheduled presenters.

“We just tried to see the room, and within five minutes we had police officers approaching us, saying we were trying to get into a secure facility,” Kijewski said. “We were issued trespass warnings, and all of us presenters were issued three-year bans.”

(October 2013) ANTI-BIOMASS CAMPAIGN CALL RECORDING & NOTES: “Debunking Wildfire Myths"

Anti-Biomass Incineration Campaign - National Conference Call 

Thursday, October 3, 2013 at 6pm EST

TOPIC: "Debunking Wildfire Myths"



Debunking Wildfire Myths - October 2013

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"111","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"338","style":"color: rgb(73, 73, 73); font-family: Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 20px; text-align: center; width: 333px; height: 250px; float: left; margin-left: 7px; margin-right: 7px;","title":"Photo: Doug Bevington","width":"450"}}]]We discuss how we can improve our advocacy about wildfire and forest practices and how those topics are inseparable from biomass incineration. 


What's changing with our Western U.S. forest ecosystems, public budgets, and wood markets? Why does a "one size fits all" type approach fail? How do we reframe the debate to focus on protecting homes, water sources, and soils? Why is it important to look at the whole forest, private and public?


Guest Speaker

Roy Keene, Public Interest Forester and Director of Our Forests

USC Reaches $24 million Settlement with Developer of Closed Biomass Facility

USC Reaches $24 million Settlement with Developer of Closed Biomass Facility

- by Andrew Shain, October 4, 2013. Source: Rock Hill Herald

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"134","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","style":"width: 333px; height: 250px; margin-left: 7px; margin-right: 7px; float: left;"}}]]The University of South Carolina has reached a $24 million settlement with Wisconsin-based Johnson Controls over a failed biomass power plant.

The agreement calls for Johnson to pay the remaining $14.4 million owed on the $19.1 million plant at Whaley and Sumter streets, USC chief financial officer Ed Walton said after meeting with school trustees.

Johnson will remove biomass equipment in the building and give USC the empty structure, valued at $1.6 million. The company already has paid the school nearly $8 million to cover losses from the plant, which has stood idle since 2011.

Kentucky Biomass Incinerator would "adversely affect rate-payers"

Kentucky Biomass Incinerator Would "Adversely affect rate-payers"

- By Erica Peterson, October 9, 2013 Source: Kentucky Public Radio

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"133","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"360","style":"width: 333px; height: 275px; margin-left: 7px; margin-right: 7px; float: left;","width":"480"}}]]Lexington-based ecoPower wants to build a biomass plant in Perry County. The plant would burn wood scraps to create electricity.

The utility Kentucky Power wants to buy all that electricity, and the state Public Service Commission will decide whether to allow the company to do so.

The PSC is tasked with making decisions on the basis of whether both the proposal and possible rate increases are “fair, just and reasonable.” A bill passed during last year’s General Assembly directs the commissioners to give additional weight to biomass projects.

Attorney General spokeswoman Allison Martin says the rate increase outweighs the benefits of biomass.