September 2014
Volume 5, Issue 6

Does This Look Like "Sustainable" Energy to You?
(September 2014)

SCANDALOUS PHOTOS: Beauty Stripped Bare

- by Josh Schlossberg, The Biomass Monitor

More and more, the biomass industry is logging public land to feed their polluting incinerators. Below are photos of clearcuts in the White River National Forest in Frisco, Colorado in an area that experienced the mountain pine beetle, with all of the trees slated to be burned in the Eagle Valley "Clean" Energy facility, an 11.5 megawatt biomass incinerator in Gypsum, Colorado.


Read here about the U.S. Forest Service's plan to log up to 220,000 acres of the White River National Forest and burn the trees for a few jolts of biomass energy.


Forest Service Moves to Clearcut Rim Fire Area

- by Chad Hanson, Earth Island Journal

The U.S. Forest Service issued a draft decision yesterday for a massive post-fire logging project in the Stanislaus National Forest portion of the 2013 California Rim Fire, which covered 257,171 acres on the national forest and Yosemite National Park. A final, signed decision on the proposal is expected this afternoon.


The draft decision proposes over 37,000 acres of intensive post-fire logging, which would remove the majority of the rarest and most ecologically valuable habitat resulting from the fire on the Stanislaus National Forest: “snag forest habitat” created by high-intensity fire in mature conifer forest. (Forty one percent of the Rim Fire area was comprised of non-conifer vegetation, such as grassland and foothill chaparral, and most of the forest area burned at low/moderate-intensity, wherein only a portion of the trees were killed).

This would include essentially clear-cutting 95 percent of the snags (standing fire-killed trees) in 19,462 acres of the fire area. An additional 17,706 acres of “roadside” logging is planned along roads, including old logging roads, which are not maintained for public use (and many of which are closed roads, long since decommissioned). Much of this would be clearcut too, including live, healthy, mature, and old-growth trees, which would be removed by the thousands, for no credible public safety benefit, based upon profoundly vague criteria that allow just about any tree to be cut.


Stalled Springfield, MA Biomass Incinerator Back from the Dead

- by Michaelann Bewsee, Arise for Social Justice

Funny how bad news can make you want to fight even harder for justice.

Remember the community’s fight to keep a biomass plant out of Springfield? Yesterday we found out that the Land Court granted Palmer Renewable Energy’s request to reinstate their building permit, undoing the Springfield Zoning Board’s decision that the building permit was invalid. That means that PRE gets its building permit back unless we and/or the City of Springfield can find a way to stop them.


How can we stop them? Stay tuned for more on that, but if you know Arise, and the coalition we formed, Stop Toxic Incineration in Springfield, then you should know by now that we don’t give up.

I’m still sorting out the legalities of the decision, but as I’m understanding it right now, the Court held that seeing as the City of Springfield didn’t require a special permit for other kinds of waste incineration, why start now? And the Court held that green wood chips are not waste, even though those wood chips will come from waste wood! Therefore, PRE’s Building Permit should be restored.

PRE’s intentions are to produce 35 megawatts of energy by burning waste wood. Some of you may remember that originally, PRE wanted to burn construction and demolition debris to produce energy, which would be very inexpensive for them, but the community uproar was so loud that the Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) put a moratorium on all permits to burn construction and debris. That’s when PRE decided to burn waste wood instead. But of course waste wood still comes from trees—PRE has chosen to use the word “renewable” in its company’s name, but trees are not renewable [see factsheet here] in any time frame that makes sense when you consider the importance of trees capturing the carbon that is altering the climate of our planet.


The Biomass Monitor is the nation's leading publication tracking the health and environmental impacts of biomass energy. We are accepting submissions at thebiomassmonitor AT

n Solidarity,

Josh Schlossberg, Mike Ewall, and Samantha Chirillo

Editors, The Biomass Monitor

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- by Josh Schlossberg, Editor

The biomass incineration industry can’t expand significantly in the U.S. without raiding publicly-owned National Forests. Colorado-based Confluence Energy, the largest wood pellet manufacturer in the West, admits that they “live and breathe off that federal land” while competing with local sawmills for a limited wood source.

If you want to see an example of what National Forest logging for biomass looks like, take a gander at our exclusive photos of clearcuts in Colorado’s White River National Forest, where all of the trees are chipped and burned in the Eagle Valley Clean Energy biomass incinerator in Gypsum.

While the newly-opened 75 megawatt Laidlaw-Berlin Biopower incinerator stalks the edges of New Hampshire’s White Mountain National Forest, and industry itches to get its hands on the California’s Stanislaus National Forest (see “Forest Service Moves to Clearcut Rim Fire Area”), a new incinerator proposed for Stevenson, Washington would cut and burn the Gifford Pinchot National Forest — with Oregon’s Mt. Hood National Forest just a few dozen miles away.

With the lumber industry in decline due to the economy and burst of the housing bubble, the biomass industry is setting itself up to be one of the greatest threats to our public lands. But never forget: public lands belong to all Americans and we're the ones who get to decide whether we hand them over to private industry or not.



Top 10 Biomass Stories in the News

Follow The Biomass Monitor on Facebook and Twitter for breaking biomass news.

1. Public Opposition Spurs County to Delay NC Biomass Facility

2. Proposed Washington Biomass Incinerator Nets $200k State Grant

3. Springfield, MA Mayor Blocks Appeal Against Bioimass Incinerator

4. Hawaii's Only Coal-fired Power Plant May Switch to Biomass

5. California Lawsuit Seeks Pollution Cuts From Tree-burning Power Plant

6. Albany, Georgia Biomass Project Takes Step Toward Reality

7. Tennessee Biomass Incinerator Shut Down For Costs, Safety

8. Biomass Causes Problematic Emissions Too

9. Creditors Given OK to Foreclose on WA Biofuel Facility

10. Berlin, NH Biomass Incinerator Operational, But At What Cost To Ratepayers?

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