Biomass Combustion: Harmful on any Scale

- by Cathy Baiton, Only Clean Air

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"208","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","style":"width: 350px; height: 289px; margin: 1px 10px; float: left;"}}]]In the same way that industrial biomass combustion can seriously jeopardize public health and the environment in communities, residential and smaller-scale commercial biomass burning also have adverse impacts on health and air quality in neighborhoods.

In many cities and towns, increased wood burning, both indoor and outdoor, has become a potentially year-round source of urban and semi-rural air pollution, whether from highly polluting outdoor wood boilers, needless “recreational” outdoor burning in warmer seasons, or avoidable fireplace or wood stove smoke in cooler months.

Residential smokestacks have even fewer pollution controls than industrial technologies, and people are exposed so directly in the confines of an urban neighborhood, where smoke particles can be trapped between trees, buildings, and other structures and can seep easily into nearby houses, even through closed windows and doors. Studies have found that as much as 70 percent of outdoor smoke pollution can enter surrounding homes, posing health risks to neighbors. Indoors, particle concentrations can build to levels that are dangerously high.

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.

EPA Bans Most Wood-Burning Stoves

EPA Bans Most Wood-Burning Stoves

- by Tara Dodrill, October 2, 2013, Source: Off the Grid News

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"150","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","style":"width: 270px; height: 187px; float: left; margin-left: 7px; margin-right: 7px;"}}]]Wood-burning stoves offer warmth and enhance off-grid living options during cold weather months, but the tried-and-true heating devices now are under attack by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA has banned the production and sale of the types of stoves used by about 80 percent of those with such stoves. The regulations limit the amount of “airborne fine-particle matter” to 12 micrograms per cubic meter of air. The current EPA regulations allow for 15 micrograms in the same amount of air space.

Environmentalists Press Detroit to Stop Trash Incineration

Environmentalists Press Detroit to Stop Trash Incineration

- by Jim Lynch, November 20, 2013, Source: The Detroit News

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"33","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","style":"width: 275px; height: 213px; margin-left: 7px; margin-right: 7px; float: left;"}}]]The city’s new solid-waste disposal contract represents an open door to local environmentalists, and some are trying to push the city for further action.

Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s office law week said the city selected a pair of firms to handle Detroit’s garbage. Advanced Disposal Services and Rizzo Environmental Services are expected to begin trash pickup and curbside recycling in May.

The introduction of curbside recycling means a reduction in the amount of material going to the Detroit incinerator. Some activists said Wednesday they would like to see the city go further and divert all garbage from being burned at the energy-from-waste facility.

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.

Biomass Injustice

Two Biomass Injustices

- by Ron Saff, M.D., October 27, 2013. Source: Gainesville Sun

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"34","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","style":"width: 333px; height: 246px; margin-left: 7px; margin-right: 7px; float: left;"}}]]Turkey Creek residents face two deep injustices: health risks from air pollution and noise pollution. Tons of carcinogens will soon belch from the biomass plant. In a 2009 letter to then-Sen. John Kerry, the American Lung Association stated that biomass burning releases toxic gasses that can cause cancer and scar the lungs. The letter concludes, “Given the technology and natural resources available to us, we do not believe that anyone should have to choose between electric power and their health.”

Noise pollution also has numerous health harms. According to the World Health Organization, prolonged noise pollution may result in permanent effects such as hypertension and ischemic heart disease and the accelerated development of latent mental disorders.

Speak Up On “National Bioenergy Truth Day” – Thursday, October 17

Speak Up On “National Bioenergy Truth Day” – Thursday, October 17  
[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"122","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"480","style":"width: 360px; height: 480px; float: left; margin-left: 7px; margin-right: 7px;","width":"360"}}]]Please take 5 minutes of your time on Thursday, October 17 to make phone calls to select members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (listed below with talking points) to voice your opposition to the latest piece of legislation that would open the door to dozens more air-polluting, climate-changing, water-fouling, forest-trashing biomass incinerators.
The biomass incineration industry has dubbed Thursday, October 17, 2013 “National Bioenergy Day.” Biomass energy and logging corporations will be holding events in collaboration with trade groups, schools, and universities across the U.S. and Canada to “raise awareness about the benefits of bioenergy” —  a.k.a. spew industry propaganda.
The Anti-Biomass Incineration Campaign has renamed October 17 “National Bioenergy Truth Day” so we can unite the voices of our national network to expose the truth about the dire health and environmental consequences of biomass incineration.

Wood Pellet Facility Creates Dust Issue

Wood Pellet Facility Creates Dust Issue

- by Linda Russell, September 3, 2013. Source: KY3

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"120","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"360","style":"width: 300px; height: 280px; margin-left: 7px; margin-right: 7px; float: left;","width":"480"}}]]SPRINGFIELD, Mo.-- Growing production at a pellet plant in Aurora means more jobs.  But people who live nearby say it also means a lot more sawdust, so much that it's hurting air quality there.

MFA Oil Biomass opened the production facility on Aurora's northwest side about two years ago, but this summer, they ramped up production, and along with that came clouds of dust.

"You would go outside in the morning and the air would just be filled with these fine particles of sawdust, and it would like, choke you up to breathe," says Aurora resident Diana James.

MFA Biomass is using sawdust and turning it into wood pellets for wood burning stoves.

Dirty Air for Power We Don't Need

Dirty Air for Power We Don't Need

- by Dick Stokes, September 19, 2013. Source: Gainesville-Sun

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"60","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","style":"width: 222px; height: 222px; margin-left: 7px; margin-right: 7px; float: left;"}}]]The “big lie” method involves making a claim so preposterous people assume it must be true.

Gainesville Regional Utilities made the preposterous claim that the air will be cleaner after the biomass incinerator (the Gainesville Renewable Energy Center) starts burning tons of wood daily, or more than 1 million tons annually. According to GRU, much of that wood is currently burned in the open with no pollution controls.

Just don't ask GRU for the hard evidence. State records show only a fraction of the amount claimed is actually burned in the open annually. Good foresters know wood “waste” replenishes the soil for future trees, so they haven't been burning it all away.

Doctor Talks Incineration

Doctor Talks Incineration

- by Mitchell Kirk, September 25, 2013. Source: Pharos-Tribune

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"68","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","style":"width: 333px; height: 139px; margin-left: 7px; margin-right: 7px; float: left;"}}]]More than 50 people came out for a presentation Tuesday at Logansport Memorial Hospital about how incineration plants can affect health.

The event was organized by Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy, or CARE, a group of citizens who oppose the proposed power plant project in Logansport.