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February 2012 - Volume 3, Issue 2
THE BIOMASS MONITOR is published by the Biomass Accountability Project, Biofuelwatch, Energy Justice Network, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, and Save America's Forests.

Managing Editors: Rachel Smolker & Meg Sheehan
Editor & Journalist: Josh Schlossberg

For submissions, PDF copies, or to become a distributor contact us at thebiomassmonitor [at] gmail.com or find us on Facebook and Twitter.
In This Issue
From the Editor
Take Action
From the Editor

- by Rachel Smolker, Managing Editor

This month The Biomass Monitor is dedicating the issue to highlighting the numerous victories our network has acheived in the past year--with biomass incinerator proposals in Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Vermont, Missouri and more put to rest and others on hold. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, some "Big Greens" and others are starting to question biomass burning. Meanwhile, the energy and passion of grassroots activists responsible for all these victories is inspirational and deserves a major toast!

Yet there are far more biomass proposals coming into sight each and every day. We are "winning battles but losing the war," and no wonder, given the money and power behind the bio-industries. We'll have to continue to fight these proposals one by one and at the same time work at state, national and international levels, making it clear that clean energy does not come out of a smokestack (or a coal burner, a fracking drill, a deep sea oil rig or a nuclear power plant)!

We have huge victories to celebrate and mountain ranges yet to ascend.

(Photo: Toxics Action Center)


Massachusetts Poised to Slash Biomass Power Subsidies

Any day now, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) is scheduled to issue Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) regulations that will require energy producers seeking "renewable energy credits" to meet strict standards regarding efficiency (likely disqualifying all biomass power incinerators), greenhouse gases, and compliance with forest logging standards.

One Florida Biomass Proposal Down

Nov. 30, 2011: A 55-megawatt biomass power proposal for Port St. Joe, FL has been withdrawn by the developer Rentech, as a civil rights complaint was filed with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) charging the Florida Department of Environmental Protection with environmental racism in granting the facility its air permit in July 2011.

Gainesville residents continue to fight back against the construction of a 100-megawatt biomass power incinerator.

City Defends Biomass Moratorium in Vancouver, WA

Oct. 31, 2011: Schneider Electric, a biomass power developer based in France, filed a lawsuit against the City of Vancouver, WA following an Oct. 11 City Council decision to enact a six-month moratorium on downtown development. "The lawsuit is at best premature because the city council is required by law to hold a public hearing on the moratorium which has not yet happened," said Vancouver City attorney Ted Gathe. "We intend to vigorously defend the city against these claims."

Two Biomass Proposals Axed in Indiana

Oct. 12, 2011: Liberty Green Renewables has withdrawn its two 32-megawatt biomass power incinerator proposals for Milltown and Scottsburg, Indiana. The corporation asked the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to revoke air emission permits previously issued by the state.

"What the citizens did was remarkable because the little guy was up against big energy and big banks," said Cara Beth Jones of Concerned Citizens of Crawford County, part of the local grassroots biomass opposition. Citizen resistance included filling public meetings, educating elected officials, airing television ads, and filing legal appeals.

Valdosta, Georgia Biomass Power Proposal Expires

June 1, 2011: A proposal for a controversial 40-megawatt biomass power incinerator for Valdosta, Georgia may be canceled after developer Wiregrass Power missed a deadline for construction laid out by the Industrial Authority, according to an "Economic Development Agreement."

"This was the most diverse group of people that I have ever seen for any citizen's group in Valdosta," said Leigh Touchton, President of the Valdosta Chapter of NAACP, which has opposed the facility due to public health and environmental justice concerns.

Springfield, Mass. City Council Revokes Biomass Power Permit

May 23, 2011: The Springfield, Massachusetts City Council has voted 9-2 to revoke a special use permit for the construction of a 35-megawatt biomass power incinerator by Palmer Renewable Energy. Springfield is designated an "environmental justice" community by the EPA, with its population having a significant percentage of low-income residents and people of color.

Mecklenburg County, North Carolina Closes Two Incinerators

May 5, 2011: Mecklenburg Solid Waste has stated they will not recommend engaging with ReVenture to build a trash gasification incinerator, which would have burned 370,000 tons of garbage per year. The decision follows the news that the BMWNC medical waste incinerator has closed and will be decommissioned.

Vermont Biomass Power Incinerator Application Withdrawn

April 18, 2011: Beaver Wood Energy has withdrawn its application for a certificate of public good from the Vermont Public Service Board for a 29.5-megawatt biomass power incinerator proposed for Pownal, VT. Organized opposition from citizens, including Bennington-Berkshire Citizens Coalition, raised public awareness about the negative health, environmental and fiscal impacts of the project.

Coal to Biomass Power Stymied in Ohio

March 30, 2011: The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) has revoked FirstEnergy Generation Corporation's renewable energy certification for the conversion of the 312-megawatt Burger facility from coal to woody biomass. The revocation follows FirstEnergy's March 3 motion to withdraw its application, on the grounds that "biomass is not economically feasible," according to PUCO.

Shelton, WA Stops Biomass Incinerator

March 14, 2011: ADAGE--a joint venture with nuclear power producer Areva and Duke Energy--canceled plans for a 55-megawatt biomass power incinerator for the Port of Shelton, Washington. "This is a victory for the citizens of Mason County," said Beth McBain, spokesperson for the Concerned Citizens of Mason County, which has organized rallies, hosted public forums, and educated elected officials over the past year on the impacts of biomass incineration.

Oregon Paper Mill Won't Burn Biomass

Jan. 7, 2011: A proposal by ADAGE--a joint venture with nuclear power producer Areva and Duke Energy--to convert a closed International Paper mill in Millersburg, Oregon into a biomass power incinerator has fizzled. In March, citizen backlash against a proposed 55-megawatt biomass power incinerator in Gretna, Florida caused Adage to cancel the project.

Take Action

The Anti-Biomass Incineration Campaign works on the national, regional, and community levels to oppose industrial biomass energy incineration by influencing legislative policy, through public and media education and outreach, and by providing networking, resources and organizing support to communities across the U.S.

The Campaign is made up of representatives of grassroots groups and nonprofit organizations across 32 states, operating under the banner of Energy Justice Network, based in Washington, DC.

If you support the Campaign's one-of-a-kind, powerful grassroots advocacy to protect public health, climate, forests, watersheds, and ensure a transition to genuinely clean, community-scale energy, please make a donation--from $10 to $100--so this important work can continue.

CLICK HERE to make a safe and secure, tax deductible online donation to the Campaign through PayPal or Just Give.

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