November 2014
Volume 5, Issue 8

Beetles, Burns and Biomass Energy
(November 2014)

Will National Forests Be Sacrificed to the Biomass Industry?

- by Josh Schlossberg, Earth Island Journal

If we're to believe the biomass energy industry, the US Forest Service, and a chorus of politicians from both sides of the aisle, we can solve the energy crisis, cure climate change, and eradicate wildfire by logging and chipping our national forests and burning them up in biomass power facilities.

The plotline of their story goes something like this: Years of taxpayer-funded logging and fire suppression in federal forests (at the behest of the timber industry) has resulted in "overgrown" forests crawling with icky bugs, ticking time bombs ready to burst into flames. And the fix, it just so happens, involves even more taxpayer-funded logging and fire suppression, with the trees forked over to the biomass industry to burn in their incinerators and then the "green" electricity sold to utilities and eventually the public -- at a premium.  


This "burn the forest before it burns you" propaganda is most prevalent throughout the West, but it's present anywhere there's public land, with a total of 45.6 million acres across 94 National Forests in 35 states qualifying as "Insect and Disease Area Designations" under the 2014 Farm Bill -- money on the stump for the biomass industry.


Is Biomass All It's Cut Up to Be?

- by Howard Brown, Summit Daily

One possible reason for sticking to the ill-advised Ophir Mountain and other clear-cutting plans is that the clear-cut trees would go to the biomass power plant in Gypsum, CO. Biomass power is renewable energy. It wouldn't justify destroying Summit County's wonderful forests and trails, but biomass is green energy right? Maybe not.


Is biomass power a good renewable energy source that we should promote here in Colorado? To answer this, we need to back up and look at where biomass energy comes from.


The Forest Service and Collaboratives Garden Our Forests

- by George Wuerthner, The Wildlife News

If the public really understood the illogic behind Forest Service management, including those endorsed by forest collaboratives, I am certain there would be more opposition to current Forest Service policies.

First, most USFS timber sales lose money. They are a net loss to taxpayers. After the costs of road construction, sale layout and environmental analyses, wildlife surveys, (reforestration and other mitigation if required) is completed, most timber sales are unprofitable.


Indeed, the USFS frequently uses a kind of accounting chicanery, often ignoring basic overhead costs like the money spent on trucks, gasoline, office space, and the personnel expenses of other experts like wildlife biologists, soil specialists and hydrologists that may review a timber sale during preparation that ought to be counted as a cost of any timber program.

The USFS will assert that ultimately there are benefits like logging roads provide access for recreation or that thinning will reduce wildfire severity. However, as will be pointed out later, most of these claims are not really benefits. We have thousands of miles of roads already, and adding more does not create a benefit. Reducing wildfires -- even if thinning did do this which is questionable -- it can be argued that we should not be reducing wildfire severity.


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

Our public forests, including National Forests and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) tracts, are among the most valuable assets owned by the American people. Pure air, clean water, carbon storage, regional climate regulation, erosion and flood control, recreation and tourism...just some of the benefits we reap from protecting forests. 

Unfortunately, the biomass industry also sees value in those lands -- as in, private profit to be made by cutting and burning our forests for a handful of megawatts of polluting bioenergy. National Forests in Colorado are already falling to the chainsaw to be fed to biomass incinerators (see photos), with plans
to sacrifice more in Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Montana, Minnesota, and Virginia.

What's sadder than private corporations bleeding public lands? The public being kept in the dark about the whole scam. Please help share this issue of The Biomass Monitor so the American people can be informed about the taxpayer-subsidized bio-massacre of our forests.



Top 10 Biomass Stories in the News

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

1. Lakeview, Oregon Biofuel Plant Proposal Raises Air Quality Concerns

2. Lockheed Martin Inks Agreement with Waste-of-Energy Firm

3. Man Killed in Accident at Drax Biomass Plant in Louisiana

4. $91 Million Taxpayer Dollars to Fund Louisiana Biofuel Plant

5. Proposed Plant to Export Wood Pellets to Asia

6. Three Injured in Canada Wood Pellet Plant Explosion

7. 34.5 Megawatt Biomass Project Planned for Japan

8. Valero's Indiana Ethanol Plant Damaged After Morning Fire

9. New Contract to Accelerate Use of Biomass in China

10. Biomass Investigative Review Will Begin Soon in Gainesville, FL

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