THE BIOMASS MONITOR  monthly newsletter is the only publication in the U.S. covering the impacts from industrial-scale "biomass" energy.

Managing Editor - Rachel Smolker
Editor & Journalist - Josh Schlossberg


Are Massachusetts' New Biomass Regulations Strong Enough?

Apr. 27, 2012: The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources finally released its long awaited and much delayed biomass regulations, garnering both cautious praise and criticism from grassroots biomass opponents. The regulations have disqualified stand-alone biomass power facilities from receiving Renewable Energy Certificates—a ratepayer subsidy under the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard—though incentives are still available for combined heat and power facilities operating at 50% efficiency, that burn whole trees along with logging “residues.”

Florida Trash Incinerator Proposal Bites the Dust

A trash incinerator proposal for St. Lucie, Florida has fallen through following a unanimous decision by the St. Lucie County Commissioners to terminate the contract with Georgia-based Geoplasma, citing economic concerns. The 24 megawatt incinerator would’ve incinerated 600 tons of trash per day using a technology called plasma arc, which turns garbage into a gas and slag, a solid waste byproduct.

Poultry Power Poops Out in North Carolina

A 36 megawatt biomass incinerator that would have burned poultry feces is no longer being considered for Biscoe, North Carolina, to the relief of Montgomery and Moore County residents and grassroots community groups, such as Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL), which opposed the project.

Nurse Speaks Out on Biomass Health Threats

- by Debbie Martinez, RN

(read full post)

As a registered nurse I find it alarming that Alachua County's huge medical community has remained silent on dangerous smokestack emissions as more research now demonstrates that air pollution from the city's planned biomass incinerator will pose a significant health risk to adults, children and the unborn within a 200 mile radius of GRU's Deerhaven site.

Report: "Carbon Neutral" Biomass a Scam

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A new report by Spain-based Carbon Trade Watch critiques plans by the United Kingdom government and European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) to ramp up industrial-scale biomass energy production under the guise of “carbon neutrality,” despite its massive greenhouse gas emissions and threats to public health and global biodiversity.

Beyond Burning: In-Pipe Hydro

- by Steve Law, The Portland Tribune

(read full post)
Lucid has developed a simple five-blade turbine built inside a segment of water pipe that can be installed when a utility, like the Portland Water Bureau, replaces a stretch of aging or leaking pipes.

From the Editor

by Rachel Smolker, Managing Editor

Those of us who have been battling bioenergy are all too familiar with accusations of shilling for the coal and fossil fuel industries. Apparently, the assumption is that if you don’t want to burn trees, you must therefore support burning of coal/oil. We have to be constantly wary and defend our opposition to bioenergy as a "false solution"—alternatives are a good idea, but burning biomass is not a good alternative.

If there were ever a David and Goliath battle, opposing bioenergy is it. With the harms caused by oil extraction, fracking for natural gas and nuclear power ever more visible and dire, we in the anti-biomass movement find ourselves struggling to be heard. Meanwhile, the convergence of interests and power backing bioenergy is daunting: big agribusiness, forestry, biotechnology and transport, as well as the U.S. military are all behind bioenergy. Even the Obama administration is cheerleading.

Biomass Buster of the Month

Dr. Ron Saff -- Florida

“As a physician I know all too well the impacts of the deadly poisons that come from the smokestacks of these plants,” said Ron Saff, M.D., an asthma specialist based in Tallahassee, Florida. “Not only do I want to protect the health of my asthmatic patients, but the health of my family and others as well.”

Dr. Saff takes the physician’s Hippocratic oath to “do no harm” so seriously, he has expanded his patient care beyond his medical practice by educating Florida communities on the health impacts from biomass burning and helping them oppose the construction of new facilities. Dr. Saff is one of a growing list of medical professionals taking a stand against the injustice of biomass developers raking in profits while “saddling the local population with cancer, heart attacks and asthma attacks.”

Take Action!

Sign the online petition to encourage the Vermont Public Service Board to deny approval of a 25-35 megawatt biomass power incinerator proposal for Springfield, Vermont by out-of-state Winstanley Enterprises.
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