AUDIO: "Exporting Our Forests and Economy" ANTI-BIOMASS INCINERATION CAMPAIGN CALL (December 2013)

Anti-Biomass Incineration Campaign - National Conference Call 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

TOPIC: "Exporting Our Forests and Economy"

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"142","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"265","style":"width: 300px; height: 199px; float: left; margin-left: 7px; margin-right: 7px;","width":"400"}}]]RECORDING: Biomass Incinerator Noise – December 2013

We discuss the economic and environmental impacts of shipping logs, wood pellets, and other forest products overseas from the West and East coasts in the U.S.

Guest speakers:

-Roy Keene, Public Interest Forester
-Greg Pallesen, Association of Western Pulp and Paper Workers
- Rachel Smolker, Biofuelwatch

Facilitator: Josh Schlossberg, Energy Justice Network

Notes: Samantha Chirillo, Energy Justice Network

Biomass Thermal: The Logs That Break the Forest’s Back

Biomass Thermal: The Logs That Break the Forest’s Back

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"153","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"360","style":"width: 450px; height: 338px; margin-left: 7px; margin-right: 7px; float: left;","width":"480"}}]]A sector of the biomass incineration industry claims to be turning over a new “green” leaf by building smaller, slightly more energy-efficient facilities focused on heating rather than electricity. Meanwhile, behind the smokescreen, biomass thermal advocates are supporting much of the same forest-raiding, climate-busting, and lung-searing policies as the biomass power pushers.

If successful, the biomass thermal industry’s legislative agenda won’t result in smaller, higher-efficiency biomass heating facilities replacing larger, lower-efficiency biomass power facilities  —  it will simply spur the construction of both.

Push for Ethanol Production Carries Costs to Land

- by Dina Cappiello and Matt Apuzzo, November 12, 2013, Source: AP

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"152","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"361","style":"width: 304px; height: 361px; margin-left: 7px; margin-right: 7px; float: left;","width":"304"}}]]The hills of southern Iowa bear the scars of America’s push for green energy: The brown gashes where rain has washed away the soil. The polluted streams that dump fertilizer into the water supply.

Even the cemetery that disappeared like an apparition into a cornfield.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. The ethanol era has proven far more damaging to the environment than politicians promised and much worse than the government admits today.

As farmers rushed to find new places to plant corn, they wiped out millions of acres of conservation land, destroyed habitat and polluted water supplies, an Associated Press investigation found.

Five million acres of land set aside for conservation — more than Yellowstone, Everglades and Yosemite national parks combined — have vanished on President Barack Obama’s watch.

Bills Show Rate Changes from Biomass Incinerator

- by Christopher Curry, October 30, 2013, Source: The Gainesville Sun

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"116","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"331","style":"width: 333px; height: 304px; float: left; margin-left: 7px; margin-right: 7px;","width":"363"}}]]The October bills for electric customers of Gainesville Regional Utilities show the first of two rate increases scheduled for this budget year with the biomass plant coming online.

Bills sent out this month to residential customers show higher rates than in August and September. Still, they are below the rates in place for 10 of the 12 months of the budget year that ended on Sept. 30.

The more significant increase will come in December, the month the biomass plant is scheduled to go into full commercial operation.

For a residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours a month, the October bill is $124.15. That is an increase from the $115.67 bill for that usage level in August and September. But it is below the $127.67 bill that a residential customer using 1,000 kwh a month would have had from October 2012 through July 2013.

Wood – An Imperfect Biomass

Wood – An Imperfect Biomass

- by Jack Dini, November 12, 2013, Source: Canada Free Press

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"101","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","style":"width: 444px; height: 400px; margin-left: 7px; margin-right: 7px; float: left;"}}]]The largest, so-called renewable fuel used in Europe is not solar power or wind power, but wood. As The Economist reports, “In its various forms, from sticks to pellets to sawdust, wood (or to use its fashionable name, biomass) accounts for about half of Europe’s renewable energy consumption.

In some countries, such as Poland and Finland, wood meets more than 80% of renewable energy demand. Even in Germany, home of the energy transformation which has poured huge subsidies into wind and solar power, 38% of non-fossil fuel consumption comes from the stuff. After years in which European governments have boasted about their high-tech, low-carbon revolution, the main beneficiary seems to be the favored fuel of the pre-industrial societies. The EU wants to get 20% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020; it would miss this target by a country mile if it relied on solar and wind alone.” (1)

Concerns Raised About Vermont Biomass Incinerator Traffic

Concerns Raised About Vermont Biomass Incinerator Traffic

November 13, 2013, Source: AP

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"149","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","style":"width: 250px; height: 188px; margin-left: 7px; margin-right: 7px; float: left;"}}]]A hearing officer for Vermont’s utility regulating Public Service Board has recommended that a state certificate of public good not be granted to a proposed biomass energy plant in North Springfield because the project would create too much truck traffic.

In a document filed Friday, board hearing officer John Cotter said that truck traffic to and from the plant would have an undue impact on the community and its narrow streets.

Yet Another Fire at Wood Pellet Facility

Fire Damages Ernst Biomass Pellet Plant

November 11, 2013, Source: Bioenergy Insight

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"148","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","style":"width: 250px; height: 186px; margin-left: 7px; margin-right: 7px; float: left;"}}]]Ernst Biomass' pellet plant in New Jersey, US has been damaged after a fire broke out on 9 November.

The incident is reported to have caused $50,000 (€37,330) worth of damage to equipment such as the facility's conveyor system. Nobody was injured but production at the facility was temporarily suspended.

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined but it is thought to have started accidentally. It took fire fighters about four hours to extinguish the fire.

Forests Could Face Threat from Biomass Power "Gold Rush"

Forests Could Face Threat from Biomass Power "Gold Rush"

- by Jamie Doward, The Observer

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"143","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"276","style":"width: 333px; height: 275px; margin-left: 7px; margin-right: 7px; float: left;","title":"Photo: Alamy","width":"460"}}]]Britain's new generation of biomass power stations will have to source millions of tonnes of wood from thousands of miles away if they are to operate near to their full capacity, raising questions about the claims made for the sustainability of the new technology.

Ministers believe biomass technology could provide as much as 11% of the UK's energy by 2020, something that would help it meet its carbon commitments. The Environment Agency estimates that biomass-fired electricity generation, most of which involves burning wood pellets, can cut greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90% compared with coal-fired power stations. Eight biomass power stations, including one in a unit in the giant Drax power station, are operating in the UK and a further seven are in the pipeline. None operates near capacity.

Outsourcing Forests Costs Thousands of Jobs

Outsourcing Forests Costs Thousands of Jobs

- by Roy Keene

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"142","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"265","style":"width: 333px; height: 250px; margin-left: 7px; margin-right: 7px; float: left;","width":"400"}}]]Log and chip exports, constituting a third of Oregon’s annual timber harvest, are outsourcing over a billion board feet of wood and thousands of domestic manufacturing jobs. Yet Barnum fails to even mention exports, let alone account for the losses. As director of the Oregon Forest Resources Institute (OFRI), he also fails to disclose his employer’s mission and funding source.

OFRI’s legislated mission is to “Enhance and provide support for Oregon’s forest products industry.” Funded with forest harvest taxes, OFRI benefits from increased logging regardless of whether the logs are processed domestically. Does Barnum’s analysis omit log exports to “enhance” and “support” the region’s largest corporate forest owners?