The Biomass Controversy

biomass-illustration1

Although it is officially called the Gainesville Renewable Energy Center (GREC), protesters are calling the county’s planned biomass facility an “incinerator in disguise.”

American Renewables, a private biomass developer based in Massachusetts, is partnering with Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU) to construct a biomass power plant at GRU’s Deerhaven Station, just eight miles northwest of Downtown Gainesville.

GRU and city officials agreed that Gainesville needs an additional source of energy to meet the demands of its consumers by 2023. The 100-megawatt facility, capable of providing enough electricity to power 100,000 homes, will be primarily fueled by residual wood chips collected from forest and wood processing operations within a 75-mile radius.

According to Josh Levine, the project manager of American Renewables, biomass uses the leftover wood from trees that are initially harvested by logging companies, which mainly use the trunk of the tree, discarding the treetops and branches.

“In most cases, this wood is piled up and burned,” Levine said. “There are no emissions controls, no benefits from the burning of that material — just burned.”

The biomass plant was chosen as an alternative to a 220-MW coal facility that GRU had originally planned to build as an extension of their existing 250-MW coal facility at the Deerhaven site. Twenty-eight options were considered, including wind and solar energy.

Levine said biomass out-shined the competition because it’s the most cost-effective renewable energy on the market. Solar power and wind power are intermittent resources and wouldn’t provide adequate base-load generation, he claimed.

The Contract

In May 2009, GRU entered a 30-year contract with American Renewables. The biomass facility will be owned by American Renewables, but GRU will purchase its power for at least 30 years.

Many “trade-secret” components of the Power Purchase Agreement between GRU and American Renewables had been unavailable to the public. Opponents expressed concern about American Renewables’ intentions in concealing financial data.

Levine said American Renewables’ intentions were not to conceal information from Gainesville residents, but to protect the company’s trade secrets from potential competitors. On April 6, American Renewables fully exposed the contract. Levine said their decision had nothing to do with public pressure.

“The contract is almost three years old, so it’s dated,” he said. “The competitive landscape has completely shifted, which is why we’re more comfortable releasing the contract.”

Levine explained that between 2008 and 2009, Floridians were hyped up on talk of a more sustainable future. Florida was leaning toward signing a Renewable Portfolio Standard, a regulation requiring increased renewable energy production and usage. With this anticipation, American Renewables expected more biomass plants, owned by competitor companies, to sprout up all over the state. Since then, the surge of enthusiasm failed to generate the results Levine expected. Thus, competition fizzled out.

Job Creation

During the facility’s three-year construction phase, which began in late March, 350 temporary jobs will be created. Half of these construction jobs will employ local workers, while the other half will call for specialists, who may or may not be local.

The facility’s operation, which American Renewables foresees to extend beyond 40 years, will directly employ 45 people. Indirectly, GREC will provide an additional 160 jobs to the forestry, logging, and trucking businesses within the 75 mile radius, which encompasses 23 counties.

Director of Florida State University’s Center for Economic Forecasting and Analysis, Dr. Julie Harrington, conducted a detailed economic benefit analysis for the biomass plant. She estimates an additional 500 jobs will also be infused into the local economy once the plant is running.

Protecting Forests

The majority of Florida’s forests are privately owned, with many used as timberland. Periodic forest thinning is considered to be a good forestry practice, removing invasive species of trees that compete with native species for sunlight and nutrients. Thinning is currently uncommon because landowners do not have a market for their unwanted trees, making the practice economically disadvantageous.

The biomass facility would provide an incentive for forest thinning through GRU’s Stewardship Incentive Program, allowing landowners to sell wood chips from invasive, unhealthy or otherwise undesirable trees.

Joy Towles Ezell, who has been a tree farmer her whole life, expressed concern that the biomass facility may have adverse effects on the health of surrounding forests.

“They’re going to have to clearcut forests,” Ezell said. “There’s not going to be enough waste wood to run these things.”

At one point in her tree farming career, Ezell grew trees for a paper mill, but later terminated the contract because she did not consider their practices sustainable. Ezell worries the biomass facility will compete with paper mills for residual wood. Despite Levine’s claim that paper mills cut down trees and only process their trunks, burning everything else, Ezell contends that tree mills often process entire trees — leaving little to no residual matter behind.

American Renewables states that 1.2 million green tons will be used to fuel their facility annually. Eighty percent of the required tonnage will be derived from forest products, while the remaining 20 percent will be drawn from urban wood waste.

Gainesville’s Ad-hoc Forestry Committee, an advisory board of local experts, has developed a set of sustainability standards for the biomass plant’s procurement of residual wood. To ensure that these standards are upheld, American Renewables plans to trace the origins of all the wood they receive by collecting random samples.

The samples will be tested for moisture content and other indicators that may determine whether the biomass being burned was harvested from the trunks of healthy trees, which would indicate unsustainable harvesting. American Renewables also plans to employ two on-site inspectors who will monitor wood collection.

Ezell and other biomass opponents doubt the enforcement of these standards. Although American Renewables’ Fuel Procurement Standards assure that “GREC shall not utilize biomass fuel harvested during the conversion of a natural forest to a plantation forest,” Ezell worries that the biomass facility will quickly turn to clear cutting in order to meet their biomass supply needs.

Pollution

According to a study conducted by Dr. Mary Booth for the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences, biomass facilities release more carbon emissions into the atmosphere than even coal facilities.

Booth, an ecologist from Massachusetts, has been fighting biomass for three years. The Manomet study found that, generally, biomass facilities emit 50 percent more carbon emissions than their coal-fueled cousins.

However, Gainesville’s biomass plant is designed to operate at a higher efficiency than most. Booth estimates that this one will emit 30 percent more carbon emissions than a coal facility generating the same amount of electricity.

Levine acknowledges that burning biomass, in the short term, releases more carbon dioxide than burning coal. Nonetheless, he asserts that from a life cycle perspective, biomass plants are actually carbon negative (yes, you heard him right).

“Our facility will result in cleaner air for the region,” Levine said.

His argument is based on the notion that biomass plants are capable of offsetting emissions that would have otherwise gone back into the atmosphere due to wood decomposition. When wood decomposes, it releases both carbon dioxide and methane, a far more potent greenhouse gas.

Booth resolutely dismissed Levine’s argument, claiming that the environmental impacts of wood decomposition are negligible compared to the actual burning of biomass. She explained that the release of methane through decomposition is minimized by methane-consuming bacteria in the soil. Furthermore, wood takes years to decompose. Burning biomass would release high amounts of carbon dioxide immediately.

In addition to carbon dioxide, biomass emissions include dioxin, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, formaldehyde, chlorine, heavy metals and particulate matter.

Health

Dr. Christopher Teaf, a toxicologist who testified on behalf of American Renewables, conducted a toxicology and human health risk assessment and concluded that the biomass facility would not pose any health risks to the environment.

“Our facility, from an air pollution standpoint, will not contribute to adverse health effects for anybody living near the facility,” Levine said.

Nonetheless, several organizations across America, including the Florida Medical Association, the American Lung Association, Physicians for Social Responsibility and North Carolina Family Practitioners are deeply concerned about the air pollution associated with biomass energy.

In 2008, the Florida Medical Association (FMA) issued a resolution strongly urging the state government to minimize their approval of biomass plants.

Dr. Ronald Saff, an allergy and asthma specialist living in Tallahassee, is a member of FMA’s Council on Public Health. In 2009, he played a key role in halting the construction of a permitted biomass plant in Tallahassee.

Saff contacted the Alachua County Medical Society (ACMS) to voice his concerns about biomass pollution in hope that local experts will join the fight against biomass.

“I am very disappointed with my physician colleagues in Alachua County for not speaking out about the dangers of biomass plants,” said Saff, who feels ACMS has been negligent in their duty to protect residents from this “great polluter.”

The Rush

GRU recognizes that Alachua County is not in need of a new energy supply until 2023, at the earliest. Biomass opponents want to encourage local residents to further distance that date by improving energy conservation practices.

American Renewables’ hasty progression with the biomass plant draws curiosity and speculation among their opponents.

The biomass facility calls for a capital investment of about $450 million, which will be fronted by American Renewables. If companies like American Renewables act quickly enough, they are eligible to have one third of their investment reimbursed through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009 (otherwise known as the Stimulus Bill). In order to to be eligible, American Renewables must complete the facility’s construction by the end of 2013.

Pick Your Poison

When it comes to biomass, many elected officials like to play the “pick your poison” game.

Karen Orr, Chairwoman of Energy Justice Network, a national grassroots energy agenda, asserts that biomass advocates try to set up a situation in which biomass, coal and nuclear power plants are the only energy options.

“The false dichotomy presented by government and corporations is one that must be exposed for what it is and strongly rejected if we plan to continue in the world,” Orr said. “We advocate a complete phase-out of nuclear power, fossil fuels, large hydroelectric dams and ‘biomass’ incineration within the next 20 years. What is holding us back is only a lack of political will.”

Research published in Scientific American proves that 100 percent of the world’s energy needs can be met with wind, water and solar power as early as 2030. Opponents of American Renewables are hoping Gainesville can resist the temptation of biomass long enough for cleaner sources of energy to become economically feasible and politically attainable.

Illustration by Susie Bijan.

Illustration by Susie Bijan.

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15 Comments

  • May 3, 2011

    Michael Canney

    Thanks to Lily Wan and the Fine Print for reporting on this important local issue. As an active opponent of the GRU-GREC biomass incinerator, I would like to share my comments and concerns.

    Josh Levine said American Renewables’ decision to disclose the full contract on April 6 “had nothing to do with public pressure.” That is simply not true. The only reason the company exposed the contract was because they were obligated to do so by a settlement agreement reached with a group of citizen litigants who had filed challenges in three of the permitting procedures necessary to build and operate a power plant.

    Whether the company’s intentions were to conceal information from Gainesville residents, or to “protect the company’s trade secrets from potential competitors” is subject to debate. But if you take a look at the information in the contract that was kept hidden for two years,it is quite a stretch to claim that all of the redactions were in fact “trade secrets.”

    I was pleasantly surprised to see such a lengthy and in-depth article about this topic, but I noticed that for some reason, the article fails to mention the legal challenges that were filed against GREC, and the settlement agreement that resulted. Also, there is no mention of the community groups working to stop the GREC biomass burner, such as Gainesville Citizens CARE’s Stop GREC campaign, which has been circulating petitions and distributing hundreds of yard signs. (See http://www.StopGREC.org for more information)

  • May 3, 2011

    Henry Taksier

    Michael,

    Thanks for your input!

    You bring up some interesting points that are worth investigating. This article was meant to serve as an introduction for those who aren’t already familiar with the issue. We’re planning to follow the issue, publish multiple chapters, and go much deeper into the controversy (similar to what we did for Koppers).

    As an anti-biomass activist with some knowledge of the issue, you’d make a great interview for our next chapter. If you could email us your contact info, that would be great. Our next installment will likely come out at some point next Fall (most of us, including Lily, will be out of town until then).

    Thanks again,

    Henry (one of TFP’s editors)

  • May 3, 2011

    Jack Greene

    The LENGTH of the article is fine…it’s the CONTENT that leaves so much lacking. It sounds as though Lily drank a bellyfull of Josh Levine’s kool-aid towards the end of her research and it poisoned her thinking when was writing the story. American NotRenewables sure has a sweet deal with GRU and the ratepayers. The ratepayers though, would surely be reamed if this scam/boondoggle/shell game/Treasury vacuum/ were ever built. I’m hoping folks wake up from their kool-aid induced stupor in time to stop the vacuum-sucking sound from our Treasury.

  • May 4, 2011

    Edward La Combe

    I’d also like to thank you for publishing this article about the GREC biomass plant. I’m looking forward to learning more by reading the follow-up articles. Enjoy your summer!

  • May 14, 2011

    Rob Brinkman

    Besides interviews I was wondering if any research into the issue and its history here in Gainesville was done by TFP? The bias in the article is apparent in the editorial comment on Josh Levine’s statement that biomass plants are carbon negative – “yes you heard him right” I wonder if Ms. Wan is familiar with the published research of the Nature Conservancy which has demonstrated that improved forest practices such as pre-commercial thinning actually increase the per acre productivity and result in greater sequestration of carbon than would have occurred without any thinning?
    Is she aware that Dr. James Hansen , one of the most pre-eminent climate researchers in the world issued the following endorsement:
    “Well-planned sustainable biomass power plants are a viable source of clean renewable electricity, and thus are helpful for the task of phasing out coal-fired power plants.
    Knee-jerk opposition to all biomass projects has no sound scientific basis and is harmful to attempts to stabilize climate for the sake of our children, grandchildren, and future generations. In my opinion, the proposed waste and residue-powered 100 MW Gainesville Renewable Energy Center deserves support and is a useful step toward the essential task of phasing out coal emissions.” If there is a follow-up article that Henry Taskier mentions perhaps the opponents can answer how they would meet Gainesville’s goal of reducing GHG emissions 7% below 1990 levels to meet the Kyoto accord targets. Gainesville considered nuclear as one option but rejected it in favor of biomass. Opponents should be able to demonstrate empirically that their proposed solution is both technically feasible (hint it takes about 600 MW of solar to generate as much energy as a 100 MW biomass plant) as well as economically feasible.
    As to pollution opponents will list pollutants without putting any numbers to them and scoff at the claim that the biomass plant will reduce pollution in the area but they have never cited any evidence. According to this testimony before the Public Service Commission:
    “We know that approximately 1.6 million tons per year of forest residues (about 60% of the total) is burned in the open within the 75 mile radius of Gainesville. About 600,000 tons of this, it is estimated, would be sent to the biomass plant, and it is reasonable to assume that 60% of this amount would also have been open burned. When burned in the open the same amount of wood would generate approximately 2.7 million pound of particulate matter, 90% of which is PM 2.5. As a comparison, this is 10 times the particulates emitted by the GRU Deerhaven coal-powered electricity plant in 2009.”
    – The late Kathy Cantwell, M.D.
    former member of the Alachua County Air Quality Commission and the Gainesville Energy Advisory Committee
    Regarding the Manomet study it s results have been mis-characterized by biomass opponents, for instance on page 110 there is this quote: “Thus, all bioenergy technologies—even biomass electric power compared to natural gas electric—look favorable when biomass
    “wastewood” is compared to fossil fuel alternatives.” Waste wood or logging residue is the primary fuel for GREC.
    While opponents claim that biomass releases more CO2 per unit energy generated they seem to base their supposition on the lower energy density of wood compared to coal and assume that CO2 emissions per pound are equivalent. However according to data from the Oakridge National Laboratory coal emits 227 pounds of CO2 per million btus while wood only emits 195 pounds of CO2 per million btu, this is about 15% less rather than 50% more. Natural gas has a lower energy density than coal and yet emits only half of the CO2 per unit energy, it is attractive because of its low cost but one has to be willing to accept the impacts of fracking on water supplies.
    If the intent of TFP is to provide a forum for the advocacy on an issue which was debated and decided years ago than this article accomplishes that goal. I don’t really understand why this is being covered now since the decision was made years ago and all permits have been obtained, litigation settled, and the plant is under construction, seems like tilting at windmills at this point. By the way the plant is not needed to meet total generation demand in 2023 it is to alleviate the shortage in base load generation that has existed for several years, which is why GRU is currently buying 100 MW of power from Progress Energy Florida, a fact the opponent neglect to mention.

  • May 17, 2011

    Henry Taksier

    Rob,

    Thanks for taking the time to provide all that information. We’ll certainly take it into consideration when we come out with the next chapter.

    - Henry

  • May 18, 2011

    Joe Wills

    Rob,

    Your point of the fact that the plant is under construction making the opposition groups appear to be “tilting at windmills at this point” is a good one. Digging deeper, however, one wonders what “under construction” really means. Does it mean that a great deal of money has already been expended/committed in the related design, engineering and procurement efforts such that cancellation costs (borne by the City) would be prohibitively expensive? The opposition groups need to take that into consideration as they stir the pot whose brew that we in the City are paying for.

    By the way, given that the plant is not needed to meet total generation demand in 2023, regardless of whether it is to alleviate the shortage in base load generation that has existed for several years and avoid GRU’s having to currently buy 100 MW of power from Progress Energy Florida, the fact remains that the City’s arrangement with GREAC violates an agreement between the City and the Sierra Club, dating back to April 5, 1978, which stipulated “utilizing all feasible and economic means of deferring for as long as possible the necessity for any additional generating capacity for the system after Deerhaven Unit 2 is built”. Did that agreement die of old age or, rather, was it just innocently overlooked?

    Joe

  • August 30, 2011

    Lily Wan

    Hi everyone, thank you for your comments and input. I recently returned to the states and am now back in Gainesville, ready to begin work on the second installment to this story. This second installment is necessary because I’m aware I wasn’t able to cover all aspects of this multifaceted and complex biomass controversy in Gainesville (and the nationwide controversy, but that’s a much bigger story to tackle, just trying to keep this story local for now).

    Michael, I’m definitely looking to elaborate upon the political component of this issue in the follow-up, so thank you for your suggestion.

    Rob, thank you for your input as you bring up some good points. As I continue my research for the upcoming biomass article, I’ll keep your comment in mind and review the numbers, both your stated ones and mine.

    And Joe, I hadn’t heard of the 1978 agreement between Gainesville and the Sierra Club. Good to know, I will read further into that for sure.

    If anyone would like to be in contact with me for the second installment and share both your views and any information regarding the local biomass facility, I would be very appreciative. Please contact me (lilymwan[at]gmail.com) or jot your contact information down on here. Thank you, again, for your comments.

  • September 6, 2011

    David Harlos

    There is a deep history behind the biomass plant that traces back to GRU’s efforts to develop a large coal plant in Gainesville. The County EPAC report on stopping the coal plant supplies a huge amount of information about that GRU effort, which failed because of immense community efforts from a precious few. GRU went on to resurrect a new, unneeded power plant in the form of the biomass plant. Community opposition remained on numerous issues, but was crystallized in the suit brought against the GREC spearheaded by Dian Deevey and Paula Stamer. Most of the issues raised in the suit have never been aired before the community, and FinePrint should definitely pursue them with Deevey.
    GRU has always tried to make money by generating power to sell to others, but unfortunately their schemes all end by costing GRU customers, sometimes dearly. FinePrint could do us all a favor by pursuing this and other GRU topics. It would be a surprising story for many, including those supporting the biomass plant.

  • September 12, 2011

    Henry Taksier

    David, thanks for the input. That would be an interesting topic. We’ll do our best to look into it.

  • October 12, 2011

    California Hal

    You know … there is a carbon free source of energy out there.

    RF Accelerator Driven Heavy Ion Fusion. I know … you never heard of it. Well you are not alone.

    Heavy Ion Fusion technology is here – now! Top scientists say it’s achievable, and it will rapidly become the source of most of the world’s energy needs.

    FACT: All other forms of energy production combined cannot provide for the world energy needs!(14TWe) This decline will provide a major impetus for the rapid increase in the utilization of this new form of energy, Heavy Ion Fusion.

    Fusion was first demonstrated on earth in 1952 and then was tested until the nuclear treaty in 1992. But, in our National Labs (Argonne) it was shown that we could do nuclear fusion in a small way in 1976-79.The research was funded by the DOD, alas, it wasn’t a weapon so the funding went to SDI and Heavy Ion Fusion (HIF) was shelved. Where it has remained for some 35 years … do able but not funded.

    A California Corporation is in the process of moving HIF forward as an energy source, producing 500,000 barrels per day of carbon neutral synthetic liquid fuel, potentially 35 GWe per day, and 2000 ac/ft of potable water from the ocean per day too.

    More than I can tell you here … google You Tube “StarPower for Tomorrow”, “Heavy Ion Fusion” and http://www.fusionpowercorporation.com for an exciting up-to-date education on HIF, this is not “your father’s form of fusion” … magnetic confinement, laser, polywell, or cold fusion!!

    Stephen Hawking: . . . in my lifetime “I would like nuclear fusion to become a practical power source. It would provide an inexhaustible supply of energy, without pollution or global warming.” Time Magazine, Nov. 15, 2010, “…and it can be.” FPC.

  • October 12, 2011

    California Hal

    Another one to check-out is COVANTA, who has a waste to energy program in CALIFORNIA, OREGON AND INDIANA. I have been impressed with their record meeting California’s strict air standards … no violations. They reduce landfill waste to energy and flue ash – like concrete.

  • March 14, 2012

    Grant Rothhammer

    I have a tree farm near Melrose Florida, would is American Renewable s looking for supplies?
    Grant Rothhammer

  • April 7, 2012

    Sam Twain

    Physician Says GRU Biomass Incinerator Will Be Significant Health Hazard Unless We Stop It.

    Short interview with Bill Sammons, M.D.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhdYcHEinHM&feature=relmfu

    Gainesville, Fl – 4/4/2012: Dr. Bill Sammons interview on health problems with Biomass Incinerators.

    ‘Talk of the Town’ radio, approximately one hour
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhlkT0Z2Sck&feature=player_embedded

    Bill Sammons is a board certified pediatrician from Massachusetts

    with subspecialty certification in behavioral and developmental pediatrics. He is the author of four books and has presented talks internationally and on dozens of occasions in the US. He has been asked to talk to citizen groups in fourteen states about the health risks, the financial burdens, and the ecosystem impacts of biomass combustion on more than forty occasions in the last two years. He has been working with citizens in more than twenty states to oppose the permitting and construction of biomass incinerators used to produce commercial electrical power.

    Dr. Sammons has helped to craft legislation introduced in three states, provisions passed in Washington and Indiana, and he played a role in placing an initiative on the ballot in Massachusetts which resulted in the recent set of regulations for renewable energy credits by Massachusetts DOER that the industry says make it impossible to build biomass electrical generating plants in the state.

    Dr. Sammons was directly involved in the effort by local citizens which resulted in Adage withdrawing their permit for a plant in Gretna, FL as well as Sheldon, WA and in having the public utility in Traverse City, MI reverse a decision to build a biomass combustion plant. He also has helped with the effort in NC and GA that has resulted in Fibrowatt withdrawing permit applications for biomass plants that were intended to burn primarily chicken litter and the withdrawal of a proposal in Valdosta, GA. He also spoke in Port St. Joe, FL, Milltown, IN, Scottsburg, IN, and Olympia, WA, locations where plant proposals have been withdrawn. He was also active in the successful community efforts in Springfield, MA, Russell, MA and Greenfield, MA.

    Dr. Sammons has met with the staffs of more than fifty Senators and members of the House of Representatives and his recent testimony before the Senate Finance Committee was credited by the staff with producing a vote to not extend production tax credits for biomass combustion and to limit others to one year. He has also presented material to the House Ways and Means Committee and the House Energy Committee as well as testifying before the Canadian Parliament.

    He is currently involved in community organization to resist biomass incinerators in fourteen states, and in building a coalition of sponsors in the Congress for legislation that would limit tax credits, grants, and subsidies to the biomass industry based on actual reductions in stack CO2 emissions. He is also working with dozens of medical societies across the country to make known the increased incidence of disease and illness that will result from the particulate emissions generated by these plants.

    Contact information:
    William A. H. Sammons, M.D.
    781-799-0014
    508-877-6195
    [log in to unmask]” target=”_blank”>[log in to unmask]

    Biomass/Health Videos
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jamesmaloy/featured

    Medical and Health Associations Opposed to Biomass
    http://www.energyjustice.net/biomass/#health

    Second Opinion: The Medical Profession Diagnoses Biomass Incineration (Sept 2011)

    Biomass Incineration has “Unacceptable Health Risks” and Drives Up Health Care Costs (Compilation of Anti-Biomass Statements from Medical and Health Associations)

    Statement from American Lung Association in Florida (April 2011) opposing biomass burners and noting weaker pollution standards in rural areas and the increased vulnerability of Florida’s older population.

    American Lung Association hails EPA report on “The Benefits and Costs of the Clean Air Act from 1990 to 2020″ (March 2011)

    Letter from the American Lung Association in Georgia (Dec 2010) detailing harms of particulate matter and other pollution from biomass burners.

    Washington State Medical Association (Dec 2010)
    “…urge state and local government to adopt policies to minimize the public health impacts of new and existing sources of air pollution.”

    Mason County General Hospital active medical staff letter to Mason Thurston Medical Society in Washington (Aug 2010)
    “We are in opposition to the currently proposed biomass power plants based on the grounds that these facilities pose unacceptable health risks.”

    American Heart Association – Particulate Matter Air Pollution and Cardiovascular Disease (May 2010)
    “Exposure to PM <2.5 ?m in diameter (PM2.5) over a few hours to weeks can trigger cardiovascular disease–related mortality and nonfatal events; longer-term exposure (eg, a few years) increases the risk for cardiovascular mortality to an even greater extent than exposures over a few days and reduces life expectancy within more highly exposed segments of the population by several months to a few years; reductions in PM levels are associated with decreases in cardiovascular mortality within a time frame as short as a few years; and many credible pathological mechanisms have been elucidated that lend biological plausibility to these findings. [...] …overall evidence is consistent with a causal relationship between PM2.5 exposure and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. [...] PM2.5 exposure is deemed a modifiable factor that contributes to cardiovascular morbidity and mortality."

    American Academy of Family Physicians (April 2010) letter expressing concern about poultry litter incinerators in North Carolina.

    North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians (April 2010) letter expressing concern about proposed poultry litter incinerators.

    Physicians for Social Responsibility / Pioneer Valley (MA) (Feb 2010)
    "the biomass power plants being proposed for several Pioneer Valley locations would contribute to particulate air pollution emissions in a region that already has pollution problems, and therefore we oppose the construction and operation of such plants"

    Massachusetts Medical Society (Feb 2010)
    "Massachusetts Medical Society believes that biomass combustion electricity generation plants pose an unacceptable public health risk…"

    Florida Medical Association (Dec 2009)
    "the Florida Medical Association urges state government to adopt policies to minimize the approval and construction of new incinerators including mass-burn, gasification, plasma, pyrolysis, biomass, refuse-derived fuel and other incinerator technologies, and to develop a plan to retire existing outdated incinerators"

    American Lung Association of New England – Biomass Position Statement (Dec 2009)

    American Lung Association (MA) (Nov 2009)
    Letter opposing renewable energy credits or any other preferential treatment for biomass in energy or climate legislation.

    Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition (Nov 2009)
    Testimony in Opposition to the Building of a Construction and Demolition Wood Waste Incinerator in Springfield, MA

    Letter about Medical Opposition to Biomass in Climate Legislation (Oct 2009)

    American Lung Association (June 2009)
    "The Lung Association urges that the [climate] legislation not promote the combustion of biomass."

    Capital Medical Society (September 2008) expressing concern over particulate matter from Biomass Gas & Electric proposal.

    Erie County (PA) Medical Society (July 2008) Statement on Proposed Tire Incinerator

  • May 15, 2012

    Jeb Klein

    It doesn’t take a drought to understand that a power generation scheme that requires the destruction of 1.4 million gallons per day of potable water is not “green” and can never qualify as “sustainable” energy. Wake up.

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