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Every year 24,000 people die prematurely because of pollution from coal-fired power plants.

Every year 38,000 heart attacks occur because of pollution from coal-fired power plants.

Every year 12,000 hospital admissions and 550,000 people suffering asthma attacks result from power plant pollution.

Every year, coal-fired power plants release 48 tons of mercury nationwide.

Power plants release over 40% of total U.S. C02 emissions, a primary contributor to global warming...

...and yet the coal industry wants you to believe that building more coal fired power plants in Michigan is a good idea!

...and now utilities want to burn (as biomass) our trees that capture and store harmful carbon dioxide and produce the oxygen we need to live


Click to Enlarge

Biomass Plant in Cadillac Michigan
Photo by M'Lynn Hartwell of
Utopian Empire Creativeworks
18-Dec. 2009

13,000 tons of green wood (or 1,500 acres of switchgrass) are required per year for each megawatt of energy production


“People who shut their eyes to reality simply invite their own destruction, and anyone who insists on remaining in a state of innocence long after that innocence is dead turns himself into a monster.” ~James Baldwin

JUMP TO: Get Involved | Headlines | Exploring the “CO2 Neutral” Myth | Health Consequences of Burning Biomass | Environmental Impacts | Policy, Education, and Citizen Action | Biomass Energy Initiatives

Biomass Defined into Michigan Law:
Act No. 295 Public Acts of 2008 (Senate Bill 213)
AN ACT to require certain providers of electric service to establish renewable energy programs; to require certain providers of electric or natural gas service to establish energy optimization programs; to authorize the use of certain energy systems to meet the requirements of those programs; “Biomass” means any organic matter that is not derived from fossil fuels, that can be converted to usable fuel for the production of energy: (i) Agricultural crops and crop wastes. (ii) Short-rotation energy crops. (iii) Herbaceous plants. (iv) Trees and wood... (v) Paper and pulp products. (vi) Precommercial wood thinning waste, brush, or yard waste. (vii) Wood wastes and residues from the processing of wood products or paper. (viii) Animal wastes. (ix) Wastewater sludge or sewage. (x) Aquatic plants. (xi) Food production and processing waste. (xii) Organic by-products from the production of biofuels. [Editor: Green" biomass (like energy crops) is often a foot in the door for more toxic waste streams. Plants that start off burning "clean wood chips" can easily turn to burning more contaminated fuels (which may be cheaper or even free), or get paid to take really dirty wastes like trash or tires. Economic pressures encourage use of these dirtier fuels.]

The Health Implications of Burning Biomass for Heat and Energy | ALL NEW SECTION - VISIT TODAY
The sentiment that woodsmoke, being a natural substance, must be benign to humans is still sometimes heard. It is now well established, however, that wood-burning emits significant quantities of known health-damaging pollutants, including several carcinogenic compounds. Two of the principal gaseous pollutants in woodsmoke, CO and NOx, add to the atmospheric levels of these regulated gases emitted by other combustion sources.

“Sustainable” Biomass: a Modern Myth
The main focus of this report is on the nature, effectiveness and feasibility of biomass sustainability standards— both those proposed by the Government and those which are already being developed by industry.

Massachusetts Finalizes Strict Regulations on Biomass Plants
The final standards require all woody biomass plants to generate power at minimum 50 percent efficiency to receive one half of a renewable energy credit (REC), and 60 percent efficiency to receive one full REC. Previously plants were required to operate at 25 percent efficiency. All plants must also achieve a 50 percent reduction in lifecycle emissions over 20 years. If these standards were applied nationally, almost 50 percent of the [filthiest] biomass power plants in operation would be considered non-renewable, according to Bob Cleaves, CEO of the Biomass Power Association. [Editor: The Jobs and Energy Group consider 50 percent efficiency to be far too low, when there are wood burners currently operating at over 90% efficiency.]

FACT SHEET: Massachusetts Environmental Energy Alliance
For readers who are new to the subject of burning biomass, or what to have an idea of the potential impacts on Michigan, please read this overview report. Where Massachusetts is talking about building 165 Mw of biomass power plants, northern Michigan alone is looking to seeking at least 192 Mw of biomass burning capacity.

Clean versus Treated/Contaminated Wood Residues | Source Michigan DNRE
The quality of wood residue going into a combustion or gasification system determines what comes out—in terms of energy, emissions and non-combusted residues/ash. The use of certain waste streams such as sewage sludge, recovered domestic and municipal waste and construction wood residue are particularly prone to contamination. In addition, even small amounts of some contaminants can lead to significant toxic emissions and health hazards, depending on the technology in use. Treated woods in particular contain chemicals that create dangerous emissions and have other harmful properties to the energy process.

Tires burned for biomass

Tires contain many toxic constituents, which make burning them hazardous. Halogens in tires cause hazardous emissions when burned such as dioxins, furans, PCBs, and chlorobenzenes. Toxic metals such as mercury, lead, arsenic and chromium are also released when burning tires. Many other hazardous air pollutants are released from burning tires with studies having shown tire burning to be dirtier than coal.

Get Involved

Stop Forests From Becoming Power Plants | NATIONAL CAMPAIGN
One of the biggest new threats to forests in the United States is a modern take on a very old idea: burning wood for energy. Dozens of large, dirty, wood-burning electricity facilities -- staggeringly inefficient -- are now being planned across the country. A single such facility would require increased logging on tens of thousands of acres of forest each year. Based on the flawed premise that any burning of wood is carbon neutral, electricity generated by burning trees and wood wastes -- referred to as "biomass" -- is counted as renewable energy by numerous state and federal programs intended to shift our reliance away from fossil fuels. Unfortunately, biomass burning is far from carbon neutral. Carbon dioxide released from the smokestack of a biomass facility warms the planet just like CO2 from a coal plant. And while an area logged to fuel a biomass facility may ultimately grow back, it takes decades or even centuries for a forest to recapture as much carbon as is lost when it's logged. We don't have centuries to waste if we are to reduce our emissions fast enough to save the polar bear, coral reefs, and much of the world's biodiversity from global warming. The Department of Agriculture has proposed regulations that would expand a massive, misguided subsidy program that encourages the harvest and burning of trees for energy. Please take a minute and let federal officials know that tax dollars should not go to the timber industry and power companies to subsidize actions that pollute the air, undermine climate solutions, and contribute to deforestation. PLEASE CLICK HERE


Large-scale bioenergy from additional harvest of forest biomass is neither sustainable nor greenhouse gas neutral
Owing to the peculiarities of forest net primary production humans would appropriate ca. 60% of the global increment of woody biomass if forest biomass were to produce 20% of current global primary energy supply. Such an increase in biomass harvest would result in younger forests, lower biomass pools, depleted soil nutrient stocks and a loss of other ecosystem functions. The proposed strategy is likely to miss its main objective, i.e. to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, because it would result in a reduction of biomass pools that may take decades to centuries to be paid back by fossil fuel substitution, if paid back at all. Eventually, depleted soil fertility will make the production unsustainable and require fertilization, which in turn increases GHG emissions due to N2O emissions.

Our Dead and Dying Trees
Mounting evidence that dates back to the late 1980’s, reveals nanoparticles of heavy metals and toxic chemicals from Stratospheric Aerosol Geoengineering Programs have contaminated our water, soil and air. This toxic contamination is causing environmental stress on every living thing on this planet, including humans, animals, forests, oceans, etc. Environmental Voices (www.environmentalvoices.org) has begun a study on our declining forests. Certified laboratory tests on tree bark of dying trees indicate the presence of aluminum, barium, strontium and titanium. Tree bark, from a tree in Solano Beach CA, had certified test results as follows: Aluminum 387 mg/kg, barium 18.4 mg/kg, titanium 15.2 mg/kg, strontium 113 mg/kg. Water nourishes our forests and certified laboratory tests of samples from a Pit River arm tributary tested at 4,610,000 ugl (ugl=ppb or parts per billion), over 4,610 times the maximum contaminant level for aluminum in drinking water for the State of California. With the facts that the Welsbach nanoparticles are changing the pH of the soil and that our water sources are contaminated with toxic chemicals and heavy metals; how will we be able to survive on this planet?

Story Developing...
New standards are expected to shake up the biomass industry
If these standards were applied nationally, almost 50 percent of the biomass power plants in operation would be considered non-renewable, according to Bob Cleaves, CEO of the Biomass Power Association [which is exactly what we at "Jobs and Energy" have been saying all along. Biomass is not sustainable and it is not renewable].

The Bad Idea That Just Won't Go Away in Northern Michigan: Timber For Biomass
Karen Potter-Witter, PhD is a professor of forestry at Michigan State University. As she explains, "We sent out 1600 surveys to forest land owners who owned at least 10 acres in the Northern Lower Peninsula and Eastern Upper Peninsula." Random landowners were selected to fill out the survey. The 2010 Forest Landowner Survey: Bioenergy from Forest Based Biomass is pretty straight forward. It is 11 pages long and has 50 questions, like how much land do you own? Have you harvested timber on it? Would you be willing too? For what price? The MEDC, a state organization, wants to know just how much low quality timber is out there, and how many people would be willing to sell it in order to fuel biomass plants. We all know, there is fair amount of wood up north, but developers possibly looking to build plant want an abundant supply of fuel (timber) nearby. Readily available wood that is a short haul from a power plant is important. Potter-Witter says the distance that the raw material has to be hauled becomes a factor because its one of the three factors that dictates the cost of doing business.

Biomass - a burning issue
The use of biomass as a 'low or zero carbon fuel' is increasingly being adopted as the default solution to meet emission targets for new buildings. This approach is fundamentally misguided and is leading to increased carbon emissions. This paper demonstrates that there is a crucial distinction between viewing biomass as a renewable fuel - in that plant matter can be selfrenewing - and as a low carbon fuel. This is because the amount of plant matter that can renew itself each year is finite, and plant matter burnt for heat reduces the amount available for other sequestered uses, for example as a building structural material or insulant. This mistaken assumption that biomass is low carbon, combined with the use of a carbon rather than energy metric for buildings, is undermining efforts to achieve large-scale carbon reductions

Forests affected by habitat fragmentation store less biomass and carbon dioxide
Deforestation in tropical rain forests could have an even greater impact on climate change than has previously been thought. The combined biomass of a large number of small forest fragments left over after habitat fragmentation can be up to 40 per cent less than in a continuous natural forest of the same overall size. Altered wind conditions and light climate lead to a general change in the microclimate at the forest edges. “Forest fragments cannot perform in the same way as continuous forests.” Deforestation or degradation of forests leads to a further release or less fixing of carbon dioxide per unit area, thereby increasing the greenhouse effect. Around 20 per cent of total global CO2 emissions comes from the destruction of forests.

EPA Petitioned to Correct Biomass Mistake
The Center for Biological Diversity filed a petition today urging the Environmental Protection Agency to correct scientific errors in how it calculates greenhouse gas emissions from power plants that burn trees and other wood products known as “biomass.” The petition, filed under the federal Data Quality Act, challenges EPA’s unscientific, erroneous assumption that burning trees for energy is “carbon neutral” and has no effect on climate change. The petition asks EPA to correct statements about the “carbon neutrality” of biomass in its annual inventory of greenhouse gas emissions in light of abundant scientific information showing that assumption is incorrect. “Burning America’s forests for energy isn’t clean, isn’t green and certainly isn’t carbon neutral,” said Center attorney Kevin Bundy. “Biomass emits as much or more carbon dioxide than coal, and forests can take decades or even centuries to pull that carbon dioxide back out of the atmosphere after being logged. In the short term — the period most critical to averting the worst impacts of climate change — converting the carbon stored in trees into global warming pollution makes no scientific or policy sense.”

Traverse City Light and Power Publishes Biomass Health Impacts Report | REPORT | MACTEC PROPOSAL
TCL&P has hired an engineering firm to publish a biomass health impact study. This study does not address the most serious health risks from substances such as ultra-fine particulate matter. It ignores dozens of other contemporary studies by reputable professional health organizations that point out clear and evident risks from producing energy from biomass. CLICK HERE TO READ WHAT UNBIASED PROFESSIONALS IN THE HEALTH INDUSTRY HAVE TO SAY ABOUT BIOMASS

    Letter from Dr. Shea, following MACTEC report to TCL&P (21-Jul-2010)
    Related Article: TOPO map of Traverse City indicating that TCL&P energy consumers live in a bowl surrounded by glacial moraines (hills formed by the deposition of material from a melted glacier). Pollution from energy generation will be trapped and absorbed by the air over the city and the bays of Lake Michigan are at risk of acidification from power plant emissions.
    Traverse City Light and Power Board of Directors

European Energy Firms Look To U.S. As Biomass Source of Supply
Demand for woody biomass, in the form of wood chips, wood pellets and torrified pellets will increase substantially in Europe over the next ten years, according to the North American Wood Fiber Review, a publication from Wood Resources International that covers both the pulpwood and biomass markets in North America. The cost of locally sourced biomass on the continent has gone up for many energy plants, resulting in increased interest in importation of wood chips and pellets from neighboring countries or from overseas. Pine stumpage prices have increased. In the 2Q/2010, prices were more than 50 percent higher than two years ago.

Scientific Review of the Manomet Biomass Sustainability and Carbon Policy Study
The study relies on a number of assumptions to achieve these conclusions that minimize the calculation of net carbon emissions from biomass power, meaning that actual emissions are likely greater than the study concludes. Thus, the first conclusion of the report – that net emissions from biomass are greater than from coal and especially natural gas even after decades of regrowth by forests – is qualitatively correct, but it likely underestimates the magnitude of biomass emissions. The second conclusion, that small‐scale thermal and CHP biomass facilities may yield a carbon “dividend” relative to fossil fuels after forty years is likely not correct, since actual biomass emissions likely exceed fossil fuel emissions even under the thermal and CHP scenarios.

Ohio is Ground Zero for Biomass Fight
June 30, 2010—Several of Ohio’s coal-burning power plants plan to burn trees as a means of generating “biomass” electricity. In fact, Ohio is ground zero of a nationwide push by power companies to cut and burn the nation’s forests to generate power. According to Cheryl Johncox, executive director of Ohio forest advocacy group Buckeye Forest Council, “biomass in Ohio has the potential to be a huge sucking machine that eats up trees across the state and the eastern U.S.” To supply this much wood, all large and medium sized trees from one-seventh of Ohio’s public and private forests would need to be harvested each year just for burning.

Dr. Sammons: a Forum Focusing on health issues related to biomass energy | LISTEN TO PRESENTATION
June 22, 2010—Dr. William Sammons, a national medical expert, discussed possible health implications associated with wood-burning energy generation. Dr. William Sammons, a pediatrician and author, added Traverse City to his national speaking tour after Traverse City Light & Power pursued plans to build one or more biomass power plants. Government officials created biomass power plant emissions rules about four years ago, Sammons said. Since then, experts published more than 3,000 medical articles about biomass' harmful impacts, including connections to increased cases of breathing and cardiac problems, as well as cancer. But changes haven't been made to how such plants are permitted, he said. "The regulatory system hasn't caught up with current medical knowledge. That's part of the bind we're in right now." Research has demonstrated that biomass burning for energy creates health risks from the emissions, is dirty, and ultimately expensive! LISTEN | DOWNLOAD

Biomass Plan Placed on Back Burner
TRAVERSE CITY — Public opposition and health concerns torched Traverse City Light & Power's proposed construction of a wood-burning biomass plant. The Light & Power board agreed Tuesday night to take a harder look at natural gas-fired electrical generating plants, relegating its controversial biomass gasification plant to a low-priority option.

Forum: Biomass not really 'sustainable'
Burning trees and tree products in biomass plants, however, is not green, not carbon neutral and not sustainable. Our forests should not be classified as a renewable resource for biomass. It takes minutes to burn a tree, decades to grow a new one. Several biomass plants currently operate in Michigan and more are being proposed in Gaylord, Traverse City, Frankfort, Mancelona and in the Upper Peninsula. Each one uses a 50- to 75-mile radius to determine fuel availability. These boundaries overlap. Based on data from Massachusetts (where wood-burning biomass has been temporarily banned), it takes 13,000 tons of wood to produce 1 megawatt of power for one year. At a moderate harvest rate of 20 tons per acre, one small 30 megawatt electric plant would burn approximately 20,000 acres of wood each year. This is not a sustainable use of our forests. Wood-burning biomass is not carbon neutral. It emits 1.5 times as much CO2 into the atmosphere as coal. Harvesting and transporting wood chips to biomass plants adds to the carbon emissions. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, it takes hundreds of years for replanted tree seedlings to sequester the carbon emitted from the harvesting and burning of larger trees. Wood burning also releases numerous toxic chemicals, volatile organic compounds and high levels of particulate matter. The American Lung Association opposes wood-burning biomass, stating that their emissions pose unacceptable health risks. Healthy forests are necessary for our very survival.

The Effect of Power Plants on Local Housing Values
May 2010—Compared to neighborhoods with similar housing and demographic characteristics, neighborhoods within two miles of plants experienced 3-7 percent decreases in housing values and rents with some evidence of larger decreases within one mile and for large capacity plants. In addition, there is evidence of taste-based sorting with neighborhoods near plants associated with modest but statistically significant decreases in mean household income, educational attainment, and the proportion of homes that is owner occupied.

Biomass plants could be devastated under proposed EPA ruling
8 June 2010 - The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed new Boiler Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) standards which would classify biomass boiler units, conventionally considered multi-fuel boilers, as incinerators and would be subject to new emission limits for mercury, hydrogen chloride, particulate matter, carbon monoxide and dioxin. The new proposed ruling is originally part of the Clean Air Act of 1990. The Biomass Power Association (BPA), President Bob Cleaves said that if the new rule is enacted, 100 percent of boilers in the U.S. will have to do more work emitting less pollutants. “The end result of this rule is that EPA is going to require what we think will be very, very expensive technology to achieve levels for these air emission standards,” said Cleaves. “As it relates to the biomass industry specifically, the standards are probably unachievable.” Cleaves said that without biomass plants in the state, the agriculture waste being used at biomass plants would diverted to landfills, which could cause more methane emissions [Editor: Landfill gas (methane) is believed by many to be cleaner than biomass burning]. Cleaves said that there is no future for biomass technology in the U.S., plants will close. As for new plants being developed, The Biomass Power Association thinks that if the Maximum Achievable Control Technology ruling is enacted, all biomass energy development will be halted. EPA will issue a final ruling after a 45-day public comment period that began on June 7.

Biomass is dirty. Biomass Industry President: New EPA rules are 'virtually unattainable'
Development of renewable energy from biomass power plants would be crippled if U.S. EPA finalizes proposed rules aimed at cleaning up industrial boilers, industry advocates say. Biomass power plants use boilers to burn timber, farm crops and waste, as well as municipal waste to generate electricity for commercial consumption. There are about 400 such boilers operating in the United States, according to EPA. The agency in April proposed tighter limits on large biomass boilers' emissions of particulate matter, carbon monoxide, mercury and other toxins. Biomass industry executives state that the new standards are so tight that they will cause existing plants to shut down and prevent new ones from being built, Biomass Power Association President Bob Cleaves said yesterday. "They're virtually unattainable! ... They're certainly unattainable if you apply any measure of economic rationality ... the new regulation would be "impossible to comply with. " The EPA's proposed regulations would cover several pollutants, including particulate matter, cadmium, mercury and carbon monoxide, in addition to greenhouse gases from burning biomass and other fuels, could prevent annually more than 1,000 premature deaths — and more than 1-million trips to the hospital because of respiratory disorders. Once the final rule is published, existing facilities will have three years to come into compliance, while new facilities will have to demonstrate they can meet the air-quality targets before coming online. Jane Williams, chairwoman of the Sierra Club's National Air Toxics Task Force states that if the biomass industry cannot meet the EPA standard, that damages its claim of being a clean energy source. "What they're saying, apparently, is: 'We're just too dirty. We can't meet the EPA standards because we're too dirty.'" [EDITOR: Traverse City Light and Power appears to hope to circumvent EPA public safety rules by building several smaller 10-Mw biomass boilers, rather than one larger one which would be subject to more stringent emissions controls.] FULL REPORT

Renewable Fuels Goals In Climate Bills Threaten Millions of Acres of Forest Related
June 14, 2010–At least 30 million acres of America's forests could be cut down and used for fuel at US power plants if renewable fuels and biomass provisions of current Congressional climate and energy proposals aren't radically revised. This will send a massive 4.7 billion ton pulse of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere that would accelerate global warming as it drastically erodes forests' ability to pull carbon out the atmosphere. This perverse outcome stems from the glaring but largely overlooked Enron-style accounting practices being used by Congress, the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and state agencies to calculate carbon pollution, which falsely assume that burning biomass fuels, including trees, produces zero net carbon emissions. Close examination shows that the reverse is true: Logging and burning trees will produce a near-term surge in carbon releases -- greater than from burning coal -- while diminishing for decades the forests' ability to recapture those emissions.

Buckeye Forest Council: Fact Sheet
Ohio—The scale of potential logging and burning is staggering –– For the proposed plants to generate 2100 MW from wood, 42 tons would need to be burned every minute or 26,280,000 tons of wood per year. Wood products, including saw logs and pulp, now involve cutting 2 million tons from Ohio forests. These proposals could therefore mean cutting more than ten times the current timber volume. To supply this much wood, all large and medium sized trees from one-seventh of Ohio’s public and private forest would need to be harvested each year just for burning. This would obviously be neither sustainable nor renewable.

In response to the proposal to build a biomass gasification facility please consider the following:
Olympia, WA—When coal and natural gas are converted to energy the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted is 210 and 117 pounds of carbon dioxide per million Btus of energy generated, respectively (1). When construction and demolition wood waste is converted to energy, CO2 emitted is 227 pounds per million Btus generated, based on 13.4 million Btus of energy per ton and 42% carbon content (2). Forestry residues such as forest floor wood, tree limbs or logging slash would have higher emissions due to higher moisture content and the presence of leaves and needles in the residues, both of which reduce energy generated. Taking into account emissions during production and distribution of these fuels adds up to 10% or more to their total emissions (3). These facts provide one of the supports for the claim that woody biomass is dirtier than coal and twice as dirty as natural gas.

Study finds biomass power not carbon neutral
Forested regions around the world are pursuing biomass as a renewable energy source but a study finds that the carbon footprint from burning biomass can be worse for global warming than coal. The Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences on Thursday published the findings of a six-month study to measure the greenhouse gas impacts of using biomass, which, in many cases, does not meet claims of being "carbon neutral". The report was commissioned by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, which said it will revise its regulations in response. Biomass plant operators have argued that biomass facilities are carbon neutral because trees absorb carbon dioxide when they grow. Carbon emissions from burning biomass are indeed offset by plant growth, but the Manomet study found that the time frame is measured in the decades, which calls into question the role of biomass in meeting carbon reduction goals.

The Biomass Power Association Launches $250,000 Public Relations & Advertising Campaign
The campaign, which will focus on Washington, DC, will highlight the economic and environmental benefits of biomass power, as well as the importance of extending tax incentives essential to maintaining existing biomass power facilities. The biggest threat to the biomass power industry and thousands of clean energy jobs is the expiration of essential tax credits for existing biomass power facilities. Power plants are predominately located in poor rural communities [where desperate people live who are willing to sacrifice their health and environment for a lousy low paying job.] SOURCE The Biomass Power Association

Biofuels: Environmental Consequences and Interactions with Changing Land Use.
Unfortunately, attention to the inputs required to show adequate and sustainable productivity are absent from most studies. For example they question the concept promoted by Tilman et al. (20062) that unfertilized, low-input, high diversity prairie grassland on ‘degraded’ land produces more net energy than fertilized corn grain ethanol systems while sequestering significant amounts of carbon in soil organic matter. Their estimates were based on removal of less than 3% of standing biomass, whereas in a real-world biomass system, all above-ground biomass, and thus nutrients, would be harvested. It is improbable, Connor & Hernandez suggest, that the net productivity of the system could be maintained at an industrial scale. The water requirements of biofuel-derived energy are 70 to 400 times larger than other energy sources such as fossil fuels, wind or solar. Roughly 45 billion cubic meters of irrigation water were used for biofuel production in 2007, or some 6 times more water than people drink globally.

Study finds wood burning releases more greehouse gas than coal
Last year the state of Massachusetts suspended licenses for new wood-burning power plants and commissioned a study on the environmental impacts of burning wood for electricity. That study, conducted by the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences, has now been released and it shows that, per unit, wood releases more climate-damaging gases than coal. The study also found that there would not be enough sustainably harvested wood available to power even one biomass plant in Massachusetts. Michigan’s 2008 renewable energy law provides incentives for the development of wood-fired power plants, and several are in the planning stages here. At hearings about proposed wood-fired plants in Traverse City and Mancelona, concerned citizens have questioned the carbon neutrality of wood burning and raised concerns about the potential impact on regional forests and air quality. [Editor: In spite of biomass industry supporters claims to the contrary, independent Michigan Forest Ecologist's are indicating that Michigan does not have enough forestland to provide a sustainable source of wood fiber to support current and proposed biomass incineration facilities in Michigan.]

Physicians Against Biomass: Why you should be concerned | Laura Shea, M.D.
As a physician studying the recent environmental health research, I am deeply concerned over the air pollution that biomass incinerators in our region will create. There is a perception by many that biomass energy is “clean.” The reality is that whether combusting directly or engaged in gasification, biomass resources do generate air emissions. In fact, many existing biomass incinerators produce higher amounts of two known pollutants than coal burning plants: nitrogen oxide and particulate matter air pollution, which are documented as having the broadest-reaching health impact of the pollutants regulated in our air. Because of the light weight of these gases and particles, they can travel long distances and affect air quality far away from the emission source.

Burning biomass for electricity is dirtier than coal
Thursday, June 10, 2010—A scientific study released Thursday that showed burning locally harvested trees for electricity creates more greenhouse gas than coal-fired plants is dampening the state’s enthusiasm for some biomass facilities. The six-month study shows that, by 2050, biomass-fired electricity would result in an increase in greenhouse gas emissions, compared to coal-fired electricity. “Now that we know that electricity from biomass harvested from New England forests is not ‘carbon neutral’ in a time frame that makes sense given our legal mandate to cut greenhouse gas emissions, we need to re-evaluate our incentives for biomass,” he said in a statement accompanying the report.

Wood burning power plants hurt global warming fight
June 10, 2010 01:19—Burning wood to generate electricity can be worse for global warming than burning coal, according to a study released yesterday. That surprising conclusion immediately prompted state officials to reconsider substantial financial incentives provided to wood-burning plants. The six-month study by the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences in Plymouth comes amid controversy over the proposed construction of two large wood-burning power plants in Western Massachusetts. “These findings have broad implications for clean energy and the environment in Massachusetts and beyond," said Ian Bowles, state secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs. FULL REPORT

Wood power emits more carbon than coal
June 10, 2010—Massachusetts is taking a second look at wood-burning power plants after a new study for the state found the use of the forest "biomass" releases more greenhouse gases than coal. Biomass has long been part of the state's portfolio of renewable energy sources, along with solar, wind and geothermal. Massachusetts Environmental Secretary Ian Bowles said the state is now rethinking that policy - which includes taxpayer incentives for wood-burning plants. FULL REPORT

The European Union (EU) recently admitted that agro-fuels might be as much as four times more damaging to the climate than conventional fuels

Scientists to Congress: Count carbon from burning biomass
Today a group of leading scientists from across the country sent a letter to congressional leaders and Obama officials urging them to carefully count the carbon from biomass burned for energy as part of a comprehensive climate bill or any other leg islation or regulation. The letter makes abundantly clear that failing to do so risks sacrificing forests around the globe and putting more pollution into the atmosphere, not less.

New Report: Wood Bioenergy Threatens Forests, People
JUNE 2, 2010—New Report Reveals Major Threats to Forests and Communities from Bioenergy Forest Advocacy groups from three continents released a new report today that reveals the threat bioenergy poses to forests and forest-dependent peoples. The report warns that U.S. plans for wood-based bioenergy, biochar and genetically engineered trees (GE trees) will worsen a dangerous situation.

Wood-based bio-energy: the green lie
Fri 28 May 2010—As forests campaigners, activists and Indigenous Peoples Organisation make a tour through Europe to inform policymakers about the dangers of wood-based bioenergy, the Global Forest Coalition presents a briefing paper that sums up the dire consequences for forests and forest communities.

Editorial: Time to look at biomass options
So how do you misplace a $30 million biomass plant? Not misplace like forgetting where you put it, of course, but in a more basic way: How, after months of planning and public hearings, did Traverse City Light & Power say its preferred site for a biomass plant was a place where it apparently can't be built? And why did uility officials give assurances that the site near Cherry Capital Airport was just fine when they apparently didn't know whether it was or not? Spin? Telling people what they wanted to hear? "You couldn't pick a worse location," Hubbard said. Before Light & Power spends one more dime on a new campaign to sell a new biomass site, it must do what should have been done first — take an honest and long look at other power alternatives, starting with the dams on the Boardman River.

GOP timber plan gets chopped down
6/8/10—A GOP plan to raise money by logging more of the state forest has been abandoned for lack of support. The House GOP budget proposal, released in March outlined a plan that they said would raise $25 million for the state by making significant changes to Michigan’s forestry operations. The GOP plan was to harvest 100,000 acres of Michigan forest next year and transfer timber sales to the Dept. of Agriculture, where trees would be treated as an agricultural product and logging operations would be exempted from the state business tax. The proposal is not included in either the Senate or House appropriations bills. “I think the House GOP simply had no traction for the idea,“ MDNRE spokeswoman Mary Dettloff said. Rep. Mike Lahti (R-Hancock), Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on DNRE, “is pretty well-versed on forestry issues and is in continual talks with our staff about forest management,” she said. The timber plan was criticized by the Sierra Club, which called it a giveaway to industry and warned that by forcing lots of timber onto the market it would depress prices. MDNRE Forestry Management Division Chief Lynn Boyd said that the proposal would compromise the sustainability of the state’s forest system and conflict with recreation, hunting and wildlife habitat management. Rep. Wayne Schmidt (R-Traverse City) said that he supported the GOP timber plan.

Council of Scientific Society Presidents Letter to Washington
On May 4, 2010, the Council of Scientific Society Presidents (CSSP) sent a letter to senior administrators and legislators in Washington, noting the urgency of addressing global climate disruption, and calling for better use of science in developing policies as the nation moves foward. The CSSP cautioned that some energy systems promoted to help with global climate change have not received adequate scientific scrutiny, and may aggravate global warming and pollute the environment to a greater extent that commonly appreciated. The CSSP letter specifically mentioned the nation's biofuel policy and the development of diffuse natural gas sources in shale formations such as the Marcellus Shale as examples where energy policy has moved ahead without an adequate base in objective science.

USDA Report: North America’s Wood Pellet Sector
Most pellets made in the United States are consumed domestically, but a growing offshore market is boosting exports. By contrast, most Canadian pellets are shipped overseas. The reliance on sawmill residues led to imbalances between supply and demand for fiber as the sawmilling sector retrenched in the 2008–2009 recession. This has led mills to turn to roundwood or other non-sawmill sources of fiber. The wood pellet industry and use of wood pellets as energy are in their relative infancy in North America and the recent growth of both has been fueled by increases in the cost of fossil energy. However, policies aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere could loom as bigger factors in the future.

Make smarter choice for energy
As a physician residing and caring for patients in the Traverse City area, I am deeply concerned about the potential health impact of a biomass plant in our region. Known gaseous byproducts of burning biomass fuels are carbon monoxide, benzene, toluene and other known toxic and cancer-causing chemicals. In addition, the ash residue of biomass emissions has an adverse health impact on human lungs and particularly those individuals with chronic lung disease such as asthma or emphysema. Let us learn from other societies who have implemented biomass energy and what has resulted in the environment in those regions.

EPA Identification of Non-Hazardous Materials That Are Solid Waste: Proposed Rule
This Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) proposed rule seeks to clarify which non-hazardous secondary materials are, or are not, solid wastes when burned in combustion units. Under the proposal. This proposal would significantly narrow the current universe of non-hazardous secondary materials that when burned in combustion units.

Failure at Hillman Michigan Biomass Plant
The Hillman Power Company in the village of Hillman, Montmorency County, Michigan, experienced a power failure on April 8, 2004. Shutdown of the pollution control equipment allowed a release of fly ash to the air. The ash settled on a local elementary school playground, where children were at recess. Several children complained of dermal irritation, irritated eyes, or transient respiratory problems. Fly ash emissions from the plant reportedly have occurred in the past. Local citizens were concerned that emissions from the power company were harmful.

Biomass plant idea is misguided
I am sincerely concerned in regard to the plans by Traverse City Light & Power to build a biomass plant. I am concerned biomass plants are actually being viewed as viable alternatives to fossil fuels at all. Such a plant is counterproductive to reducing the carbon dioxide load of Earth. In a public release of information in February 2009, Dr. Chris Fields, co-chair of the IPCC Working Group, stated the impact of carbon dioxide on Earth has been understated and the levels have skyrocketed between the years 2000-2007. He went on to say that wildfires of all forests, including tropical rainforests, can be anticipated as the planet warms. Therefore, the idea that forests are a sustainable commodity for use as energy is unrealistic. And Light & Power is misusing the facts of the IPCC to represent a false claim to validate the use of biomass.

Meet Five Scary Tree-Killing Machines | Video
Deforestation is a growing problem almost everywhere —which is what makes seeing the latest in tree-killing machinery all the more troubling. Gone, it seems, are the days of hard-earned lumber, where felling a tree took sweat and grit. Now, thanks to advances in technology, large swaths of forest can be harvested in a fraction of the time by a single lumberjack, all from a comfortable seated position. In fact, there are a number of scary-looking machines on the market today, all designed to make short work of forests.

U.S. losing trees faster than other forested nations
Out of seven of the most heavily forested nations on Earth, the United States experienced a greater percentage of forest loss than did any of the other countries, a study said Monday. Thirty percent of total forest loss occurred in North America alone. he United States had the greatest percentage loss of the seven nations—even more than Brazil and Canada—losing 6 percent of its forest cover in just five years time, a total of 120,000 square kilometers (46,332 square miles).

Stopping Deforestation, Greening Agriculture Better Than Carbon Capture & Storage, UNEP Report Says
A new report from the UN Environment Programme says that: Stopping deforestation, restoring marshes and peatlands, and practicing more sustainable agricultural techniques are probably a better bet for combatting climate change, not to mention less expensive, than investing tens of billions of dollars in carbon capture and storage at power plants. In specific this is what The Natural Fix? The Role of Ecosystems in Climate Mitigation recommends: Reducing deforestation rates by 50% by 2050 and then maintaining them there until 2100 would avoid emitting the equivalent of 12% of the emissions needed to keep atmospheric CO2 concentrations below 450ppm.

The Watershed Center Letter to Traverse City Light and Power
The Watershed Center is the author of the Grand Traverse Bay Watershed Protection Plan. That plan was developed in collaboration with 28 other regional organizations and agencies and approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE) in 2005. The Watershed Center has long promoted the importance of trees and other deep-rooted vegetation along shorelines and streambanks for the purpose of erosion and sediment control as well as for taking up nutrients which also harm water quality. Recent research in Michigan and around the country is showing the importance of tree cover throughout a given watershed. The Watershed Center is currently conducting a Watershed Forestry Analysis funded in part by a grant from the DNRE. That analysis will use current tree cover data and specialized software that will show the ecosystem benefits provided by the forest cover in the 1,000 square-mile Grand Traverse Bay watershed. The Watershed Center believes there are significant unanswered questions regarding the sustainability of biomass energy as it pertains to forests and related water quality. Our concern is that it will not be possible to derive 60 years worth of fuel from the region’s watersheds without reductions in forest cover that negatively impact water quality.

The Biomistake: TCL&P slanted survey & bad research are behind a bad idea
And so it has come to pass that Traverse City Light & Power (TCLP) has decided to build a biomass plant and burn our forests to produce electricity. We’ve been assured their tree harvesting will focus on just the crummy trees and these efforts will thin the forests and make them healthier than ever. This process is sustainable because, well, there are trees all over the place up here. It’s renewable because crummy trees keep springing up that deserve to be harvested; their crumminess a blight on the more upstanding trees. We weren’t even aware our woodlands were unhealthy. It’s a pretty good bet they aren’t suffering from a lack of human intervention but maybe they needed a date with chainsaws and wood-chippers, a kind of botanical species cleansing. The language used in the TCLP research, especially on the key question of support, is obviously biased. It’s hard to imagine this being done accidentally given the overwhelming nature of the bias.

A Point / Counterpoint on the Biomass Issue
M'Lynn Hartwell, of the Jobs and Energy research group; and Ed Rice, executive director of Traverse City Light & Power go head to head in an interview by Anne Stanton in the Northern Express newspaper. Now on news-stands in NW Michigan and online at http://www.northernexpress.com

Conference:International Biomass Smoke Health Effects (IBSHE)
This publication and the IBSHE Conference were at least partially supported by funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Major topics of discussion included risk assessment, biomarkers of exposure, toxicology and animal study design, health outcomes measures/study design, and communications gaps. In this issue of Inhalation Toxicology, we present the findings from each of these breakout sessions in an effort to summarize what is known in these key areas, and to identify those emerging issues in the field of biomass smoke research. Exposure to biomass smoke has been epidemiologically associated with pulmonary disease, including asthma and respiratory infection.

Developed countries hide emissions from logging
While developing countries in the tropics have received a lot of attention for their deforestation emissions from logging—considered forest cover change—in wealthy northern countries has been largely overlooked by the media. It seems industrialized countries prefer it this way: a new study reveals just how these countries are planning to hide forestry-related emissions, allowing nations to contribute to climate change without penalty.

Biomass in Europe: an Inconvenient Reality
While Michigan utilities are in a mad rush to burn our trees for energy, Europe has been burning biomass to create energy for decades. In fact, Bioenergy is expected to meet most of the EU’s 20% renewable energy target. Much of this will come from burning wood in dedicated power stations, co-firing with coal and domestic wood boilers. Already, a growing proportion of the wood does not come from true residues but from trees cut down for this purpose. Companies are increasingly looking for imports to meet the new demand. The European paper industry has already pointed out that there will be a need to significantly increase imports of wood if a large proportion of European wood is destined for bio-energy. An analysis by McKinsey suggests that there will be a gap of 200-250 million cubic meters between European wood production and demand if the current bio-energy targets are maintained. This will significantly increase pressures on forests and forest peoples in developing countries. It will also lead to further expansion of monoculture tree plantations, which are already causing significant social and ecological harm in many developing countries due to their negative impacts on biodiversity, water tables, and local communities. So far, most wood imports for bioenergy come from North America where increased logging and the expansion of monoculture tree plantations have already caused significant social and environmental impacts. In the longer term, large-scale imports from the South are expected. Plans for the expansion of monoculture tree plantations for bioenergy exports are already being developed in countries including West Papua, Guyana, Ghana and the Republic of Congo.

Burning wood as renewable power draws scrutiny
The plant features West Coast-leading pollution controls endorsed by the Environmental Protection Agency. It's projected to release far less pollution than the usual practice of burning slash piles in the woods. But it will also release more carbon dioxide and lung-damaging particulates than a comparable coal-fired power plant, according to a report for the Eugene Water & Electric Board, which is buying the power. It will release more carbon, sulfur dioxide and smog-causing nitrogen oxides than a similar-sized natural gas plant. And it's expected to receive millions in tax credits and qualify to meet the state's renewable power goals, just like non-polluting solar and wind. Dr. William Sammons, a pediatrician, is lobbying Congress to end federal tax credits and incentives for biomass plants. He figures federal biomass subsidies will hit $20 billion a year if they aren't curtailed, and biomass plants will expand to account for more than 10 percent of U.S. carbon emissions by 2020.

Editorial: TC not ready for biomass decision
Traverse City Light & Power officials appear to be the only people in town who believe the city-owned utility has sold the public on plans for a $30 million wood-fired power plant. In fact, they seem to be some of the few people around who think -- after months of publicity and public forums -- that the proposed east-side plant is even a good idea, let alone ready for a green light. Given the reality that there appears to be wide and persistent opposition to the proposal -- based on comments at public forums, comments to the utility and letters to the editor -- it is incumbent on Light & Power to push back its self-imposed deadline. The utility must also, in the name of due diligence, take a serious look at the dams on the Boardman River and their potential for generating electricity. The pat answer from Light & Power officials is that the river doesn't have enough flow, but they offer nothing more. A year-long study of the dams conducted recently fell far short of any meaningful analysis and gave short shrift to again using the dams to make power. We have to know.

Gas Mystic Station 7.6 MMBTU/MWH 45% efficiency

Brayton Point 9.6 MMBTU/MWH 36% efficiency

Canal Electric - Mirant 11.0 MMBTU/MWH 31% efficiency
Russell Biomass - RBM
13.5 MMBTU/MWH 25% efficiency
(Data provided by Professor Curt Freedman and Western New England College)
The Mystic plant is state-of-the-art, but Russell biomass is supposed to be too. Wood used in biomass burning contains about 45 percent water, that means 55 percent of the wood is dry, combustible fuel that can yield energy.  The other 45 percent is water, which must be evaporated up the plant chimney as water vapor.  I estimate that the Russell plant will be evaporating 550,000 gallons a day by way of water withdrawn from the Westfield River.  But the plant will also be evaporating water from green or wet wood at a rate of at least 150,000 gallons a day. That is a total of 700,000 gallons a day of water being evaporated up into the air.  No wonder the plants are so inefficient.  With inefficiency comes more burning of wood fuel and thus higher carbon dioxide output.  "State of the Art" in biomass appears to be unable to do any better than 25 percent efficiency and may be worse in actual operation.

The POOR efficiency of biomass power plants
People are wondering about the efficiency of biomass power plants. We were able to come up with data to help answer this question, at various power plants in Massachusetts.  Mystic and Brayton Point are heavy base-load operations.  Canal Electric has been used increasingly for peak periods only, so the operations involve much startup and shutdown ... not good for efficiency.  The Russell Biomass numbers are from the company's own reports, and are theoretical only.  They may not reflect the effects of burning wet wood, which reduces the efficiency even more. These numbers reflect what Jobs and Energy has been stating all along, that biomass plants typically operate at an efficiency of 20-25% ... or in other words, around 80% of the forest is wasted up the chimney, and in ash.

Eastern US Forests Resume Decline
ScienceDaily (Apr. 7, 2010) — After increasing during much of the 20th century, forest cover in the eastern United States in recent decades has resumed its previous decline, according to an exhaustive new analysis published in the April 2010 issue of BioScience. Most net forest loss occurs as result of mechanical disturbance of forests for timber production. The authors comment that their findings suggest forest transitions may not plateau and stabilize after reaching a point of maximum recovery, which "has important implications for sustainability, future carbon sequestration, and biodiversity."

Combustible Wood Dust
A manufacturer of wood pellets cited by U.S. OSHA for workplace violations following an August 2009 combustible dust explosion at the company’s plant U.S. OSHA proposed a $27,000 fine for an alleged six serious violations at the facility. OSHA says its inspection found that the plant’s employees were exposed to potential dust explosions and fires stemming from deficiencies in the construction, design, or location of the plant’s wood pellet processing system Since 1980, more than 130 workers have been killed and 780 injured in combustible dust explosions.

The Forest Thinning Trap
Most of the acreage burned in fires annually is in forest types that historically experienced moderate to significant stand replacement blazes. Thus the idea that large fires that occur are the result of fire exclusion is inaccurate. Dead trees are important physical and biological components of forest ecosystems. They are not a wasted resource. Beetles and wildfires are the prime agents that create dead trees. Removal of significant amounts of biomass by thinning and/or logging likely poses a long term threat to forest ecosystems. Biomass energy is the latest threat to forest ecosystems. Logging/thinning is not benign. Logging has many impacts to forest ecosystems including spread of weeds, sedimentation of streams, alteration in water drainage, removal of biomass, and so on. These impacts are almost universally ignored and externalized by thinning/logging proponents.

Biomass and the Problems with Ash
Many of the process problems in operating biomass plants have been ash-related, especially when biomass burners reach a utility scale. Biomass materials have significant inorganic matter contents and many of the problems encountered with the combustion of biomass materials are associated with the nature and the behaviour of the biomass ash components and the other inorganic constituents. For biomass gasification and pyrolysis systems, the ash-related issues are largely similar to those for combustion, i.e. the accumulation of ash material within the reactor and associated equipment, the impact of ash on the integrity of the process plant and heat exchangers and the ash-related environmental impact of the process.

Few legislators to attend biomass debate
Critics of biomass energy production are preparing to turn to the voters if lawmakers don’t act by May on a proposal to limit biomass production that results in more than 250 pounds of carbon emissions per megawatt hour. “The myth is cracking wide open right now as citizens and public health advocates and well-informed environmental organizations are becoming educated about the simple truth of biomass. These are incinerators in disguise,” said Margot Sheehan, a lawyer with environmental organization EcoLaw, which is spearheading the petition drive.

Radioactive Isotopes found in Wood Ash Nationwide
In the early 1990s, I initiated a study by radiation scientists all over the US who documented the levels of natural and man-made radioactivity in wood ash gathered from domestic wood burning of both hardwoods and softwoods. The study was initiated by a Feature Article I authored to the Health Physics Society's Newsletter [Volume XVIII, No. 4] titled "Preliminary Study of Cs-137 [Cesium-137] Uptake by Trees and Its Implications for BRC, Waste Disposal, and Dosimetry]. The Health Physics Society is an International Society of over 5,000 radiation safety scientists involved in environmental, medical, and industrial radiation protection. A wood burning power plant represents an industrial process which brings very large quantities of wood [which contains radioactive Cs-137, Strontium-90, and a long list of natural radioactive isotopes at varying concentrations depending on the wood supply] and concentrates it in one location. This concentrated presence of radioisotopes, as present in the biomass, is upon combustion released into the stack gas emissions from the facility, and into the ash generated and disposed of by the biomass power plant either as a waste product, or as a fertilizer as a soil amendment.

Biomass plant idea lacks credibility
The Traverse City Light & Power Integrated Resource Plan study by R.W. Beck study purports to show that at least one, perhaps up to three, biomass plants are superior to coal and gas alternatives on a risk-adjusted, least-cost basis. The study is deeply flawed mostly because of poor assumptions. This entire debate is a bit surreal. We've suddenly gone from $50 wholesale power to more than $100 without a whimper, all because of a hypothetical carbon tax regime that is highly uncertain. The idea that Light & Power, in effect, should mandate such a tax is a momentous step not needed in advance of any national or state requirement. Biomass is not needed to meet the state's 2015 10 percent Rewable Portfolio Standard requirement, and Light & Power's breathless pace to go further seems an unlikely way to build consensus.

An Industry Blowing Smoke: 10 Reasons Why Gasification, Pyrolysis & Plasma Incineration are Not “Green Solutions”
Seven national and local advocacy groups released a report today, An Industry Blowing Smoke: 10 Reasons Why Gasification, Pyrolysis & Plasma Incineration are Not “Green Solutions” revealing that new incineration technologies are no better than conventional trash-burning. The report cites consultant reviews, government studies and scientific literature to conclude that despite recent industry claims of technological breakthroughs, the core impacts of all types of incinerators remain the same: they are toxic to public health, harmful to the economy, environment and climate, and undermine recycling and waste reduction programs.

The true cost of biomass
Until recently, there has not been much discussion about the cost of biomass. Most of the biomass consumed for energy has been wood sourced as waste from other processors. Estimates from the Energy Information Administration place biomass energy growth at approximately 110 GW of new generating capacity within 15 years. If this happens, it is likely that there will no longer be much access to “waste” biomass sources. This increased demand will likely bring about significant changes in the pricing structure and availability of any type of biomass.

State of Florida Biomass Report
A new report analyzing the potential of Florida's forests to provide renewable energy sources could raise further doubts about proposed state goals to increase renewable energy. The Legislature in 2008 adopted a comprehensive energy bill that directed state agencies to study the economic effects of providing financial incentives for biomass energy production from trees or waste wood. The report, which was sent Thursday to the governor and Legislature, says that Florida's forests would not support a 20-percent renewable energy goal by 2020. The Florida Public Service Commission, indicates that the 20-percent goal, with 15 percent from woody biomass, would cause a significant redirection of wood from pulp and paper, lumber and other forest products industries to electricity generation, causing a "quite dramatic" increase of up to 500 percent for some forest products.

A Century of Failed Forest Policy | BOOK
The Wildfire Reader covers the topic of wildfire from ecological, economic, and social/political perspectives while also documenting how past forest policies have hindered natural processes, creating a tinderbox of problems that we are faced with today. More than 25 leading thinkers in the field of fire ecology provide in-depth analyses, critiques, and compelling solutions for how we live with fire in our society. Using examples such as the epic Yellowstone fires of 1988, the ever-present southern California fires, and the Northwest’s Biscuit Fire of 2002, the book examines the ecology of these landscapes and the policies and practices that affected them and continue to affect them, such as fire suppression, prescribed burns, salvage logging, and land-use planning. Overall, the book aims to promote the restoration of fire to the landscape and to encourage its natural behavior so it can resume its role as a major ecological process.

Behind the Smokescreen
TCL&P “Integrated Resource Plan” Written by Company that Received $21-Million Federal Dollars to Develop Biomass
March 9, 2010 (PRNewswire Firstcall) - Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) today announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, R.W. Beck, has been awarded a blanket purchase agreement by the Department of Energy's Biomass Program. The BPA's period of performance expires Sep. 30, 2015 and has a ceiling value of $21 million. [Editor: Does this sound like a consulting company that can relate to the needs of our small city electrical utility? Did TCL&P go on a very expensive long distance shopping trip to hire somebody that would give them the IRP they wanted to purchase; an ”“Integrated Resource Plan” that promoted biomass?]

    Related Article: Contract Award - SAIC / R.W. Beck - US Air Force
    Related Article: SAIC / R.W. Beck Bags $625-Million dollar Navy Deal
    Related Article: SAIC / R.W. Beck Wins $495-Million dollar Air Force ID/IQ
    Related Article: SAIC / R.W. Beck awarded $955-Million dollar blanket purchase agreement from EPA
    Related Article: SAIC / R.W. Beck Nets $288-Million Deal with EIA (The award is an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract)
    Related Article: Contract - SAIC / R.W. Beck - $25 Million - GSA
    Related Article: Contract - SAIC / R.W. Beck - $500 Million - TSA
    Related Article: Contract - SAIC / R.W. Beck - US Air Force
    Related Article: SAIC / R.W. Beck Wins Army Corps of Engineers $10 Million For Support Services
    Related Article: Naval Air Systems Command secures SAIC / R.W. Beck support for $29-Million
    Related Article: Contract - SAIC / R.W. Beck - $70 Million - Fleet and Industrial Supply Center Norfolk
    Related Article: SAIC / R.W. Beck Wins $196-Million Contract for Space and Naval Warfare Systems
    Related Article: SAIC / R.W. Beck Wins Major Biological Support Deal
    Related Article: SAIC / R.W. Beck Wins $388 Million DHS Contract
    Related Article: SAIC / R.W. Beck Wins $196-Million Contract for Space and Naval Warfare
    Related Article: SAIC / R.W. Beck Gets $848-Million from Army
    Related Article: R.W. Beck Claims BPA from DOE (ethanol biofuels and biochemicals technologies and their deployment)

Biomass plans moving too fast
TRAVERSE CITY -- A local environmental group is increasingly worried that Traverse City Light & Power is on an unstoppable fast track to building a local wood-burning power plant, but the public utility insists a decision hasn't been made. Light & Power officials are expected to decide next month whether to construct a biomass plant in Traverse City. The facility would be fired on wood, but could accept designated fuel crops or other items. News that a consulting firm recommends biomass -- and that Light & Power is publicizing that recommendation -- raises a few eyebrows within NMEAC. Reisig said the NMEAC board on Tuesday likely will suggest Light & Power delay a biomass decision beyond April to give time for more studies and community input. But Rice said he still plans to make a biomass recommendation to the Light & Power board in April, and the board likely will decide then. Critics are concerned Light & Power hasn't paid close enough attention to wind, solar and other renewable energy options, and worry that a biomass plant could lead to pollution and local forest depletion.

Burning wood as renewable power draws scrutiny in Oregon and nationwide
It will release more carbon, sulfur dioxide and smog-causing nitrogen oxides than a similar-sized natural gas plant. And it's expected to receive millions in Oregon tax credits and qualify to meet the state's renewable power goals, just like non-polluting solar and wind. Burning wood, or in 2010 terms "wood biomass," is civilization's oldest form of generating energy. Burning wood is a high pollution way to generate electricity, they say. And encouraging it could cause a spike in greenhouse gas emissions that won't be fully absorbed for decades. Opponents have emerged in 18 states, including Oregon. The biggest battle to date is in Massachusetts. Concerns prompted the state to suspend classifying biomass plants as green power pending an environmental study. Activists also qualified an anti-biomass measure for the November ballot.

Biomass a 'colossal mistake'
TRAVERSE CITY -- Biomass? Try "biomess." That's the message Rachel Smolker had for a large crowd gathered to explore the local and statewide ramifications of a wood-burning power plant in Traverse City. Smolker, a forest researcher and climate advocate, came as a guest of the Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council to speak about Traverse City Light & Power's biomass plans. About 100 people gathered in a conference room at the Traverse Area District Library Monday night as she expressed her concerns. Biomass plants pollute no less than coal facilities, she said, and their proliferation is a significant threat to the nation's forests.

Public comments will be accepted on the master plan through March 6
Frankfort ponders biomass plant

Buried deep inside the draft master plan is a section on renewable energy that highlights the Benzie County city's goal of energy independence and how it could achieve that position through wind, solar and biomass technologies. City Superintendent Joshua Mills realizes biomass energy -- whether generated from burning wood, other organic material or household rubbish -- is a contentious issue. He expects the issue to prompt plenty of debate, though no one has yet to propose such a facility in town. "It's nothing the city is committed to. The city is committed to pursuing renewable energy," Mills said.

Written comments can be submitted through March 6 to: City of Frankfort Planning Commission Chairman, P.O. Box 351, 412 Main St., Frankfort, MI 49635-0351.

The Conservative Group, Heritage Foundation, on Funding for Biomass
Robert Cleaves, president of the Biomass Power Association, answers, “The production tax credit is really a lifeline for the industry. We’re on the ragged edge as it is.” This should be a pretty convincing indicator that biomass is currently an uncompetitive product and might not be in the market without production tax credits. Biomass isn’t as environmentally friendly as some might suggest. Removing government support for energy production isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it should be done across the board. A good starting point would be to ending the special tax breaks for biomass.


Where biomass burning is popular, forests are consumed or disappearing:

Ireland has lost 96.4% of it's original forests. None of its old forests today remain.
The Netherlands has lost 95.2% of it's original forests. None of its old forests today remain.
The United Kingdom has lost 94% of it's original forests. None of its old forests today remain.
Belgium has lost 79% of it's original forests. None of its old forests today remain.
Germany has lost 73.7% of it's original forests. None of its old forests today remain.
Norway has lost 9.6% of it's original forests. None of its old forests today remain.
Sweden has lost 14% of it's original forests. Today just 2.9% of its old forests remain.
The United States has lost 39.8% of it's original forests. Today just 6.3% of its old forests remain. (Between 1990 and 2005 the U.S. is down 1% for primary forests, and down 0.8% for all natural forests)

The fact is all of the biomass friendly countries are importers of chipped wood biomass from other countries. They have already discovered what Michigan has yet to learn. Biomass burning, and contemporary demands upon woody resources, is NOT sustainable under current forest management guidelines.

If we don't change direction soon, we'll end up where we're headed

Community, Health, and Environmental Organizations Oppose Federal Money for Biomass
We are a network of community, environmental, and social justice groups, as well as medical, academic, and legal professionals writing to request that the Senate Finance Committee recommend a no vote on proposed tax credits for the combustion of biomass to generate electricity. The burning of biomass – tires, trees, trash and just about anything else – qualifies as “renewable energy” under several federal laws and there is a virtual gold rush across the Nation as developers seek to cash in on lucrative tax credits and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) subsidies for these incinerators. In the United States, there are currently 200 biomass plants in operation and proposed. The U.S. EPA’s findings greenhouse gases and CO2 states that “for a given amount of CO2 released today, about half will be taken up by the oceans and terrestrial vegetation over the next 30 years, a further 30 percent will be removed over a few centuries, and the remaining 20 percent will only slowly decay over time such that it will take many thousands of years to remove from the atmosphere.” 74. Fed. Reg. 18886, 18899.

Business of Green: An appeal to slow down on biofuel
Europe's well-meaning rush to biofuels, the scientists concluded, had produced a slew of harmful ripple effects - from deforestation in Southeast Asia to higher prices for grains. In a recommendation released last weekend, the 20-member panel, made up of some of Europe's most distinguished climate scientists, called the 10 percent target "overambitious" and an "experiment" whose "unintended effects are difficult to predict and difficult to control."

The New Taxpayer Bailout That Will Make You Sick AND Poor
In communities where biomass burners are being proposed, often poor and hard pressed for job opportunities, citizens are waking to the realities: First of all, the promised "green jobs" are not as numerous or as lucrative as hoped. Further, the emissions from biomass burning are making it increasingly difficult to breathe! A number of medical professionals and associations have opposed biomass burning, pointing out that it results in large quantities of particulate matter, sulfur oxides, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and dioxin. For some contaminants, biomass emits more than coal. Biomass is often loosely defined to include not just wood, but also garbage, construction debris, tires, manure and much much more -- all of which contribute further to the stew of airborne (and ash-borne) toxins from incineration. Our tax dollars, via the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act are being used to pay up to 30% of capital costs for building biomass burners -- a great deal for the industry that could cost us up to about 8 billion. We are footing the bill with close to 10 billion per year of our tax dollars, to have our forests and farmlands pillaged and our health compromised under the guise of "renewable energy". Time to rethink the meaning of "renewable," and fast before every last scrap of living plant matter on earth goes up in smoke.

Questions About Biofuels’ Environmental Costs Could Alter Europe’s Policies
12-Feb-2010—A top European farm official has suggested that yet-to-be-released studies by the European Commission could be used to “kill” heavily promoted and subsidized biofuels by focusing on their total environmental impact. The suggestion, written in the margins of internal correspondence foreshadows a further retreat from the biofuel-friendly policies that the commission once called crucial in the fight against climate change. The industry has already been dogged by contentions that the main justification for policies supporting biofuels — that they are greener than fossil-based products — is unsound. Many environmental advocates claim that a large number of fuels grown from crops do not merit public subsidies or production incentives.

Biomass a short-sighted plan
Traverse City—Biomass a short-sighted plan More than a century ago, our ancestors had a simple plan for dealing with industrial waste: they simply flushed it into the river or let it settle into the ground. Problem solved. What could be easier and more sensible? No one had a clue at the time that there were unintended consequences that would involve billions of dollars in cleanup schemes within a few decades. The same short-sighted thinking is at work in Northern Michigan today, where Traverse City Light & Power is considering a plan to build three woodchip-burning power plants which would each produce 10 megawatts of electricity.

Will History Repeat Itself
The project was constructed using what was at the time, “state of the art technology”. Throughout the period during 1987 – 1988, the project received numerous Technology Innovation awards from the Governor of Florida, the U.S. Department of Energy and the ASME. Residents complained of a blue haze in the air, acrid smelling stench in the air that smelled like creosote, sticky black soot all over their property and homes increased carbon monoxide levels were making residents physically ill – suffering from headaches, nausea and sore throats

Bob Cleaves, the Biomass Power Association president, says that ... biomass energy plants would have closed without the Federal subsidy program

Biomass Energy: Beware of the Costs
The reason for the biomass “boom” is that taxpayers are providing substantial financial incentives, including tax breaks, government grants, and loan guarantees. The rationale for these taxpayer subsidies is the presumption that biomass is “green” energy. But like other “quick fixes” there has been very little serious scrutiny of biomass real costs and environmental impacts. Whether commercial biomass is a viable alternative to traditional fossil fuels can be questioned. Woody biomass energy is neither green, nor truly economical. It is also not ecologically sustainable and jeopardizes our forest ecosystems. It is a distraction that funnels funds and attention away from other more truly worthwhile energy options, in particular, the need for a massive energy conservation program, and changes in our lifestyles that will in the end provide truly green alternatives to coal and other fossil fuels.

Biomass Subsidy Program Has Unintended Consequences
January 15, 2010—It sounded like a good idea: Provide a little government money to convert wood shavings and plant waste into renewable energy. But as laudable as that goal sounds, it could end up causing more economic damage than good. As a result, the supply of wood chips is reduced for composite byproducts used for roofing, subfloors and furniture; undermining the construction industry, which is already struggling in the current economic recession. "The best thing they could do is forget about it. All it's doing is driving the price of wood up."

Biomass subsidies threaten wood-based manufacturing jobs
1/14/10—A U.S. Dept. of Agriculture program that pays up to $45 per ton to companies that bring wood waste to energy facilities could end up hurting the businesses that use wood waste to make products such as particle board and furniture, the Washington Post reports. The biomass subsidy program could “wipe us out,” said T.J. Rosengarth, the vice president and chief operating officer of Flakeboard, the largest composite panel producer in North America. “You can say, ‘I’ve made more alternative energy,’ but at what expense?”

    Related Article: Biomass Subsidy Faces Opposition From Wood Products Industry

Biomass Plants NOT the Solution
Jan 04, 2010—We need to get serious about global warming and energy generation, but wood burning biomass plants are a false solution, which will worsen our problems, not help to solve them. While the word “biomass” conjures up pleasant images, the promotion of this old caveman incinerator technology as “green” is a colossal “greenwash” by the timber and trash industries attempting to cash in on lucrative public clean energy subsidies. One can become quite cynical to learn that our “green” energy subsidies are promoting the cutting of forests and burning them in dirty biomass plants instead of promoting the truly clean energy solutions such as solar, geothermal, appropriately scaled and located wind and hydro, and most importantly conservation and efficiency.

Mancelona Biomass proposal meets strong public opposition | OPINION
19 Dec, 2009—Last night in the small town of Mancelona, Michigan, one of the poorest communities in a region hit hard by the closure of what little industry they had, dozens of citizens showed up to voice opposition to a 32 megawatt wood fired power plant to be build just outside the city limits. The promise of twenty-five or so "middle class" jobs only drew support from two people while dozens of members of the audience addressed the state of Michigan DEQ who really were only concerned with air quality issues. I personally was humbled and moved that what appeared to be poor to middle class people in blue jeans and flannel shirts, retirees some for whom walking was difficult, people that actually happened to live in or near the woods about to be burned, came out on a 12 degree night to say essentially don't ruin my forests, they can't take it, and please don't harm any more my air and water.

World's Largest Wood-Pellet Factory To Be Built in the United States
January 22, 2010—RWE Innogy announced plans to build a factory to produce biomass pellets in the southern part of the US state of Georgia. The plant will have an annual production capacity of 750,000 tons, making it the biggest of its type in the world. The project will be carried out with BMC Management AB, a biomass manufacturing company based in Sweden. Dr. Leonhard Birnbaum, Member of the Executive Board of RWE AG said: “Through this investment, RWE has taken a strategically important step towards safeguarding the supply basis for the constantly growing biomass market in Europe. The European wood market will not be able to satisfy the demand in this fast growing sector on its own." [Editor: Today only 2.9% of Sweden's old forests remain. Sweden biomass burners must seek overseas suppliers to meet their woody fuel demands, depleting forest lands in the United States in the process.]

UK's biggest biomass power plant for sale
Jan 15 (Reuters) - Italian private equity firm Clessidra is seeking to sell the Prenergy power station, a project that will be Britain's largest biomass power plant, Prenergy said on Friday. When completed, the plant in South Wales will burn wood chips from North America. RBC replaces Rothschild, which previously explored a sale of the company.

Mancelona biomass plant would emit more of several key pollutants than coal
The projected emissions of the Mancelona biomass plant and the permitted emissions of the Consemers Energy coal plant are both available through the DNRE. Particulate emissions for the coal and biomass plants are similar. The wood-burning plant would release greater amounts of NOX and VOC, two pollutants that react with sunshine and heat to form smog. The production of those two gasses would be two and five times higher for the wood plant than the coal plant. This comes at a time when the federal government is cracking down on the production of these ozone-producing chemicals.

Biomass Energy Project Delayed, Citing EPA Rule Uncertainty
Georgia Power said Friday that it will delay the conversion of a coal-fired power plant to run on biomass, citing uncertainty surrounding expected government regulations for air pollutants. Georgia Power said it plans to postpone retrofitting its 155-megawatt Mitchell power plant in southwest Georgia to run on wood waste.

United Nation rules "would never allow a plantation of fast-growing trees for use as pulp or wood to be considered a sustainable forestry project, because that kind of production favours monoculture forests and the carbon capture is lost when the trees are cut down"

Who says it's green to burn woodchips?
One of the most cherished articles of faith of the green movement – that wood-fuelled power stations can help save the planet – is being increasingly challenged by campaigners and conservationists around the world. Electricity generated by burning woodchips is on the verge of a global boom. Almuth Ernsting from Biofuelwatch said: "It's almost unbelievable that we're creating vast areas of monoculture, mile after mile, just to be cut down as fast as they grow, to be shipped thousands of miles to be burned just for people's electricity. It just doesn't make sense. Simone Lovera, of the Global Forest Coalition in Paraguay, said: "Europe is going to cook the world's tropical forests to fight climate change; it's crazy." The Global Forest Coalition said that, tree plantations have had devastating effects on people and the environment, and have nothing like the biodiversity or ecological function of natural forests, whether they are first or even second growth. These plantations, it said, are "green deserts" because of the amount of water they consume, and because of the lack of native wildlife.

Michigan’s biomass rush sparks air quality, forest depletion worries
“It is unimaginable folly to think that burning things is going to stop global warming,” said Traverse City resident and filmmaker Jeff Gibbs, an outspoken opponent of biomass power. “Everybody has been talking renewables and biomass but nobody actually knew what biomass is.” “It takes 13,000 tons of wood to produce one megawatt of power, to scale this up to a useful amount of power is going to decimate our forests.” Gibbs was also concerned about the effect such deforestation would have on tourism, which is a major economic contributor to the region. “Having logging trucks rolling down the roads and putting up smokestacks is not going to help the area’s tourist economy,” he said.

Residents urge utility to go slow on biomass plant
Traverse City Record Eagle —Many gathered for a Traverse City Light & Power meeting held to discuss a proposed biomass plant implored officials to carefully weigh their options before proceeding. The public utility company held a meeting Thursday to further discuss the potential construction of a local biomass plant. Such a plant could be fired by wood, mill wastes or other plant materials. "We're asking Traverse City Light & Power to take this very slowly," said Greg Reisig, an Elk Rapids resident and environmental activist. "It's a very important decision, please don't rush ahead too fast." Reisig and Traverse City resident Jeff Gibbs said the public needs to be more involved with the process. Members of the public were allowed 3 minutes each to speak at the end of the meeting, and Gibbs wants to see the board give people who oppose the plant more input. "There needs to be a back-and-forth process, not a one-way process," he said. "We need to have a debate with all sides ... if we make a mistake, we're in real trouble."

TCL&P seeks feedback on biomass plant
Traverse City Record Eagle —M'Lynn Hartwell saw only clear skies from her view inside an airplane cockpit. But that was before she flew over a biomass plant in nearby Cadillac. "I saw a layer of brown smog," said Hartwell, co-chair of the Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council. "I think a lot of it's due to wood-burning. They're really just giant incinerators." That vision stuck with Hartwell and helps explain her opposition to similar energy-generating biomass plants in Traverse City. [M'Lynn: The article goes on to say, "There was a reason why people stopped burning wood and went to coal," she said." The rest of the quote was not printed and I said "and then to gas and oil, as each successive fuel contained more embodied energy in ane easier to use form." Ms. Hartwell created and manages this web site and is a staunch opponent of smokestack based energy including biomass and coal burning.]

Editorial: Don't rush biomass decision
Traverse City Record Eagle —Unfortunately, however, Light & Power appears ready to make a momentous decision without doing its homework. Some environmentalists first want an analysis of how much wood scrap may be available and how much such plants would consume; will we eventually have to cut down trees to make electricity?

Michigan Sierra Club Position Statement on Biomass and Clean Energy pdf
Issues surrounding the production of energy by combustion of biomass fuels are complex, sometimes contentious, and involve many different aspects of Sierra Club policy. This guidance is an interpretation of how our existing policies relate to biomass energy issues, rather than a new policy statement. Its purpose is to guide Sierra Club members and the public in understanding our views on many aspect of biomass.

Fact Sheet: Biomass Basics
Bioenergy is an umbrella term for "biomass" (incinerating for electricity production) and "biofuels" (converting to liquids for burning as transportation or heating fuels). The biomass term has meant burning of: municipal solid waste (trash), tires, construction/demolition wood waste, crop and animal wastes, energy crops, trees, gas from digestion of sewage sludge or animal wastes, and landfill gas. Biomass can include any non-fossil fuel that is arguably "organic." "Green" biomass (like energy crops) is often a foot in the door for more toxic waste streams. Plants that start off burning "clean wood chips" can easily turn to burning more contaminated fuels (which may be cheaper or even free), or get paid to take really dirty wastes like trash or tires. Economic pressures encourage use of these dirtier fuels.

Biomass questions
December 23, 2009—Six months ago, the state seemed so eager to get to renewable energy that it was willing to speed-dial past several obvious issues about biomass — the burning of wood to generate electricity. It was brushing past citizen concerns about smokestack pollution and health hazards, about the supply of wood, about the illogic of cutting and burning trees to reduce greenhouse gases. Today, however, all biomass projects are stalled while scientists wrestle with these issues. The question is obvious. Should we sink public money into the assumption that trees are a renewable source of energy, or focus instead on the truly renewable sun and wind?

The Truth About Trees
Forests were part of the discussion in Copenhagen, and several things were understood: carbon dioxide is a potentially world-altering lethal pollutant, fossil fuels are the problem. But exactly how to pare down the use of fossil fuels and switch to energy sources derived from plant material? The world’s forests are a key to our survival, and that of millions of other species. Not only are they critical to providing us with building material, paper, food, recreation and oxygen, they also ground us spiritually and connect us to our primal past. Never before in earth’s history have our forests been under such attack.

Group Files Lawsuit to force the Forest Service to comply with federal law and to allow meaningful public input into Forest land use
California—Far from inviting public participation, the Forest Service, as we have often pointed out, usually attempts to conduct their planning in total secrecy. This suit should be especially welcome news to those living adjacent to National Forest land who stand to gain, should the suit prevail, a much greater ability to find out about, and comment on, projects being planned for their backyards.

New Power Plants Unnecessary in Michigan
A report by a state agency says there will be no new demand for electricity in Michigan until 2022. The Michigan Public Service Commission says proposed new coal plants by Consumers Energy and Wolverine Power are unnecessary and unjustified. The commission says demand for electricity has declined substantially in the last two years. Environmental groups say Michigan's electricity demand can be met with more aggressive energy efficiency and renewable sources such as wind and biomass.

The Remarkable Importance of the Transparency of Scope
As it happens, biomass produces 3x the CO2 that burning coal does and 10x the particulates. Depending on the scope of the question you ask, you end up deciding to encourage or vigorously oppose investment in biomass for generating electricity. So we are reminded of the importance of properly selecting scope of analysis. Failure to do so leads to repeated studies, repeated designs, or slavish devotion to policies and organization structures long past their usefulness. In some cases, it leads to building runaway systems or runaway infrastructures and having to flush tens or hundreds of millions of dollars in the process. Carpenters say to measure twice, saw once. It’s also a good idea to measure the right thing.

Burn a Tree to Save the Planet? The Crazy Logic Behind Biomass
Fire up your chainsaw and cut down a tree. Not so you can decorate it for the Christmas holiday; so you can set it on fire to help combat global warming. That's right, burn a tree to save the planet. That's the notion behind biomass, the new (yet ancient) technology of burning wood to produce energy. It might seem crazy that anyone would even consider the incineration of wood and its byproducts to be a green substitute for toxic fuels such as coal. Yet that's exactly what is happening all over the country, and it has many environmentalists scratching their heads in disbelief. "At every turn biomass is a complete and utter train wreck," added Gibbs. "Chopping up and burning whole trees will not conquer global warming, it will only exacerbate the problem beyond the point of no return."

Michigan Approves Tire Burning at Hilllman Biomass Power Plant
Hillman Power operates a wood-fired electric power plant that has been permitted to burn 3,149 pounds per hour of tire-derived fuel (TDF) as a supplemental fuel since October 1997. Today’s permit approval allows an increase in the permitted TDF use rate to 5,000 pounds per hour, or 60 tons per day, with a maximum allowable level of 20,000 tons per year.

Michigan Promotes Tires as Fuel in Biomass Incineration
Michigan legislators are currently looking at changes for the scrap tire program and looking at ways to increase the use of TDF. Lavon Detweiler, president of Entech, Inc., a tire recycling facility, has been hired by land owners and governments to clean up tire piles. "The state has put at least $600,000 each year into cleaning up the tires. Instead of there being a chance of material getting thrown away, it is being used as TDF. The market is steady and there is not a glut of Tire Derived Fuel (TDF) material the way they have set things up. House Bill 5380 sponsored by Michigan State Representative David Mead (R-Frankfort) is looking at three issues: a new definition for "scrap tire processed material," the bonding requirements for facilities; and if there will be a limit to the number of employees in the statutory language, as it was passed out of the Michigan house. [Editor: Tire-derived fuel (TDF (language) TDF - is the leading use of scrap tires, especially as a supplemental fuel for cement kilns, electric utilities, and pulp and paper mills. TDF use has increased almost 20% to 155 million scrap tires since 2003. Of the remaining stockpiles, 85% are concentrated in seven states: Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Michigan, New York New York, state, United States New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. ]

Exploring the “CO2 Neutral” Myth

“Carbon Neutral” Biomass a Scam
“To continue the same over-production and over-consumption of energy is a dead-end,” said Tamra Gilbertson, co-director of Carbon Trade Watch, “but governments continue to ensure that profit-seeking corporations control the energy systems and pollute our skies.” The report cites a European Commission finding that predicts “energy demand for biomass would exceed available material demand within Europe between 2015 and 2020.”

Biomass is Not "Carbon Neutral"
The biomass-is-carbon-neutral story line put forward in the early 1990’s has been superseded by more recent science that recognizes that mature, intact forests sequester carbon more effectively than cut-over areas. When a tree’s carbon is released into the atmosphere in a single pulse, it contributes to climate change much more than woodland timber rotting slowly over decades.

Scientists says cut forests take at least 200 years to reabsorb CO2
Simulations of carbon storage suggest that conversion of old-growth forests to young fast-growing forests will not decrease atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) in general, as has been suggested recently. During simulated timber harvest, on-site carbon storage is reduced considerably and does not approach old-growth storage capacity for at least 200 years.

Fixing a Critical Climate Accounting Error
The accounting now used for assessing compliance with carbon limits in the Kyoto Protocol and in climate legislation contains a far-reaching but fixable flaw that will severely undermine greenhouse gas reduction goals (1). It does not count CO2 emitted from tailpipes and smokestacks when bioenergy is being used, but it also does not count changes in emissions from land use when biomass for energy is harvested or grown. This accounting erroneously treats all bioenergy as carbon neutral regardless of the source of the biomass, which may cause large differences in net emissions. For example, the clearing of long-established forests to burn wood or to grow energy crops is counted as a 100% reduction in energy emissions despite causing large releases of carbon.

Carbon advantage of biofuels overstated
The world's policymakers and scientists have made a critical error in how they count biofuels' contribution to human-generated greenhouse-gas emissions, according to a paper published Thursday in the journal Science. "You think it's hard to solve now?" he asked. "If you don't solve it now, it just doesn't get solved." None of the major climate regimes -- including the Kyoto Protocol, the European Union's carbon market and the House-passed climate bill—account for the carbon released by changing land use for biofuels.

Wood-fuel project not benign
Jn 05, 2010—In light of the role forests play in climate change mitigation, the media need to inquire why the public should finance shifting to yet another combustible fuel source. The Boston Globe has done so, and pointed out in an Nov. 28 editorial that scientists are viewing the so-called carbon neutrality of biomass operations with considerable skepticism. This is in large part because forests remove CO2 from the air, while logging and burning trees interrupts the uptake and storage of CO2 in soil and wood and adds CO2 to the air. People everywhere have begun to recognize that the best use of our forests is as removers of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Forests are the lungs of our planet. The Boston Globe editorial concluded, "Massachusetts should make sure that supposedly renewable energy sources don't make a climate problem worse."

“Green” biomass (like energy crops) is often a foot in the door for more toxic waste streams. Plants that start off burning “clean wood chips” can easily turn to burning more contaminated fuels (which may be cheaper or even free), or get paid to take really dirty wastes like trash or tires. Economic pressures encourage use of these dirtier fuels.

Indeed, for a given amount of CO2 released today, about half will be taken up by the oceans and terrestrial vegetation over the next 30 years, and a further 30 percent will be removed over a few centuries, and the remaining 20 percent will only slowly decay over time such that it will take many thousands of years to remove from the atmosphere.
Source U.S. EPA April 2009

Massachusetts Environmental Energy Alliance letter
Burning creates CO2 that will not be reabsorbed for hundreds to thousands of years The three wood burning “renewable biomass” plants proposed for Western Massachusetts illustrate the issue. These plants will emit 1,635,620 tons of CO2 a year, a 7 percent increase over current emissions from Massachusetts’ energy sector. Compounding the problem is this fact: carbon released by burning takes hundreds to thousands of years to resequester. U.S. EPA’s April 2009 endangerment finding puts the matter starkly. It states: Indeed, for a given amount of CO2 released today, about half will be taken up by the oceans and terrestrial vegetation over the next 30 years, and a further 30 percent will be removed over a few centuries, and the remaining 20 percent will only slowly decay over time such that it will take many thousands of years to remove from the atmosphere.

Ecologists to the rescue
The climate bills currently under consideration in Congress fail to distinguish between the carbon footprint of burning biomass from a mature forest and burning crop waste. Instead, all "renewable biomass" is assumed to be carbon neutral and any biomass that isn't considered renewable is assumed to have no environmental benefits. As a result, there is a huge, if obscure, fight going on over exactly how "renewable biomass" should be defined in the legislation. The need for a more nuanced approach was flagged by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Henry Waxman and Agriculture Committee Chair Collin Peterson, and needs to be addressed as clean energy and climate legislation moves through the Senate.

Group tries to curb biomass’ green stance
A group of people in western Massachusetts – where several biomass plants are proposed – claim it as dirty as coal. They say the heat-trapping gases it emits, along with toxic emissions such as arsenic and particulate matter that cause asthma should not allow them to get lucrative renewable energy credits for clean energy. Now, the group has announced a statewide campaign to place a question on the 2010 ballot to limit carbon dioxide emissions – the main ingredient in global warming – to 250 pounds per megawatt hour. That would essentially prevent biomass plants from being built.

Critical Biomass
Congress must ensure that it does not give biomass suppliers incentives to produce a fuel that is barely better -- or that is perhaps worse -- than fossil fuels. Sensitive lands should remain protected. The best way to do that is to require that qualifying biomass meet a fair, minimum carbon pollution standard that is calculated over the full life cycle of the fuel -- from clearing the land to burning the biomass -- instead of battling over precisely which classes of marginal land need to be protected to accomplish the same goal.

Congressional Research Service Letter PDF
This leaves one major source of carbon dioxide emissions unaccounted for in your analysis: biomass combustion. The resultant projections are based on data limited by a statement in the energy sector pdf noted above which states that “combustion of biomass emits greenhouse gases….[but] the CO2 emissions from these activities are not included in the national emissions totals. It is assumed that the C released during the consumption of biomass …causes no net addition of CO2 to the atmosphere.” Unfortunately this assumption is not valid given current scientific knowledge.

10 Reasons Why Gasification, Pyrolysis & Plasma Incineration are Not “Green Solutions” PDF
Studies that have comprehensively reviewed gasification, pyrolysis and plasma incinerators have found that they provide little to no benefit when compared to mass burn incinerators, while being an even riskier investment. For example, the Fichtner Consulting Engineers report The Viability of Advanced Thermal Treatment in the UK commissioned by the United Kingdom Environmental Services Training in 2004 states that, “Many of the perceived benefits of gasification and pyrolysis over combustion technology proved to be unfounded. These perceptions have arisen mainly from inconsistent comparisons in the absence of quality information.”1 The core impacts of all types of incinerators remain the same: they are toxic to public health, harmful to the economy, environment and climate, and undermine recycling and waste reduction programs.

Carbon Catcher, or Just More Nasty Carbon?
A coalition of environmental organizations argue that new coal plants of any sort, including those that capture carbon, are unnecessary in Michigan. They add that if the state aggressively moves utilities and customers toward energy efficiency and construction of more wind turbines, solar panels, and other renewable sources, Michigan could eventually turn off some old, particularly dirty coal plants. That day moved a little closer in September when the Michigan Legislature required utilities to use more renewable energy and increase energy efficiency, and to begin paying better rates to homes and businesses for power from self-installed solar panels and other renewable energy sources. The votes, according to the Michigan Public Service Commission and clean energy producers, reflect the fact that electricity from renewable sources is or soon will be cheaper than electricity generated from new coal-fired plants. The price of new coal plants has doubled in 18 months, according to several studies, and the price of coal itself has increased almost as sharply. But the wind and sun are free.

Health Consequences of Burning Biomass

The Health Implications of Burning Biomass for Heat and Energy | VISIT OUR HEALTH AND BIOMASS BURNING SECTION
The sentiment that woodsmoke, being a natural substance, must be benign to humans is still sometimes heard. It is now well established, however, that wood-burning emits significant quantities of known health-damaging pollutants, including several carcinogenic compounds. Two of the principal gaseous pollutants in woodsmoke, CO and NOx, add to the atmospheric levels of these regulated gases emitted by other combustion sources.

Rutland Herald: Air pollution concerns raised about wood-fired power plant
Concerns about air pollution from the proposed 37-megawatt wood-fired power plant and the tractor trailers bringing woodchips to the North Springfield site dominated a public hearing Wednesday night. Richard Valentinetti, director of the Agency of Natural Resources’ air pollution control division, said the division would look at the air emissions from the 120 daily tractor trailer trips that the woodchip plant would generate. Only one person spoke publicly in support of the project — [others] said their quality of life was being sacrificed for 20 full-time jobs. Willard, a former member of the Springfield Select Board and School Board, “I have no confidence in this biomass company. I cannot see risking the health of the people and destroying the community.”

Environmental Impacts

The Relative Cost of Biomass Energy Transport | Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Vol 136-140, 2007 p 639-652.
If wood chips or wet agricultural ‘wastes’ or energy crops are to be removed from the land and brought to biomass burning and refining facilities in quantities sufficient to produce meaningful amounts of energy, then transport of that biomass will also prove a significant source of emissions. For example a standard 40 ton truck full of recently harvested woodchips will emit close to a kilogram (0.91kg) of CO2 for every km that it drives when delivering those woodchips for burning at a biomass electricity plant.[i] Even a 50MW plant would require 12,750 such truckloads per year.[ii] At an average distance for sourcing woodchips of 68 km[iii], that amounts to almost 790 tons (788,970 kg) of extra CO2 emissions per year just for transport of wood chips alone. While delivery of fossil fuels also involves energy and emissions costs these fuels have a far higher energy density so the ratio of energy expended on delivery to energy created is far better. Biomass delivered for production of biofuels rather than electricity will likely rack up a higher emissions for feedstock transport per unit of energy produced – partly because conversion to liquid fuels is an even less efficient way of liberating biomass energy and also because there will be a large quantity of leftover residue from biofuels production that will need to be hauled away elsewhere. Astonishingly there is now emerging an international trade in woodchips for biomass burning with woodchips sourced in the southeastern states of the US as well as Brazil, Congo and Ghana being imported thousands of miles to burn in wood burning power plants in Europe[iv] – a transportation endeavour that makes a mockery of any ‘carbon neutral’ claims.

[i] These calculations are based on a 40 tonne truck using 33-35 litres of diesel fuel per 100 km at an average speed of 72-74 km per hour where diesel fuel emits (source: OECD “Strategies to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Road Transport” 2002 – p61 ; Diesel per litre to co2 conversion available at http://www.acea.be/index.php/news/news_detail/what_are_the_main_differences_between_diesel_and_petrol/)
[ii] The example given here uses figures from the Russell Biomass plant planned for state of Massachussets – figures provided by Massachussets Environmental Energy Alliance at http://massenvironmentalenergy.org/plantdata.html. This assumes woodchips are carried at a standard 45% moisture content)
[iii] 68 km is derived from table 2 of Erin Searcy et al, “The Relative Cost of Biomass Energy Transport”, Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology Vol 136-140, 2007 p643. [iv] Stephen leahy “Energy: Trees: Out of the Forest and into the oven” IPS News, Sep 24 2009. Online at http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=48574

“Biomass” burners could liquidate our forests
Friends: I hope you are aware of, and speaking out against, the current attempt to roll back Delaware’s nation-leading laws against incineration. Many people are confused because of industry claims that “biomass” is “carbon neutral” and doesn’t contribute to global warming as do coal and oil. To feed 500 megawatts of wood capacity, roughly equivalent to a median coal unit, one would have to cut 390 acres per day. Even disregarding the bogus carbon arguments, this is frightening. A major expansion of the “biomass” burning industry could liquidate our forests.

Forest Biomass: Forest Use or Forest Abuse?
Chances are you've read Shel Silverstein's "The Giving Tree," the classic children's story about a boy who keeps taking from a tree - apples for eating, branches to build a house, the trunk for a boat - until there's nothing left but a stump. The message is clear: forests give us a lot, but there's such a thing as taking too much. While the story touches only on a tree's material uses, there are far more indispensable - as in can't live without - uses trees provide us with such as clean air, pure water, fertile topsoil and a livable climate. But it's not about the use of one tree. It's about the abuse of entire forests, living ecosystems that regulate basic life processes that all human and nonhuman life depend on for survival. Flood control, erosion prevention, even the regulation of rainfall patterns depend on intact forest ecosystems. Still, forests continue to be devoured at an average rate of eight million hectares per year, and we are on the cusp of beginning a brand new kind of forest butchery, one that has every possibility of being the final nail in the coffin: forest biomass for electricity and liquid fuels.

Policy On Forest and Woody Biomass Fuels pdf
December 2009—The Sierra Club opposes the unsustainable exploitation of forest ecosystems. The Sierra Club has significant concerns over the production of energy from forest or woody biomass, including the inefficiency of utility-scale wood-burning biomass energy production, the resultant operational CO2 emissions, and the associated impacts on forest ecosystems, air and water quality, and public health. Claims of “carbon neutrality” by biomass and industry proponents rely on outdated information and questionable assumptions.1 The Sierra Club is not confident that significant potential for biomass power generation is possible without compromising soil and forest health, nor are we confident that regulatory frameworks exist or can be developed to prevent the unsustainable exploitation of forest eco-systems for utility-scale biomass power generation. Regardless of the scale of a facility, it is the scale of harvesting that is most relevant. The impacts of multiple small-scale facilities could easily exceed that of larger facilities. Neither scenario is a desirable outcome. A typical plant requires 13,000 tons of green biomass to generate one megawatt of biomass power for one year, or 35 tons of green wood per megawatt per day.

Ecological Problems with Biomass-To Energy pdf
The economics of biomass-to-energy require both an unsustainable and ecologically damaging approach to fuels reduction. Common specifications obtained from extensive interviews with two biomass proponents in southern New Mexico1 illustrate the questionable nature of biomass-to-energy facilities. Clearly, logging tens of thousands of acres per year from a limited area to fuel a single small biomass facility is an industrial endeavor. There will be strong economic pressure to operate year-round and at the highest production level possible because of the large amount of capital necessary to build even a small biomass facility. One great risk will be the pressure on the Forest Service to offer larger trees to increase the economic viability of biomass plants, causing great damage to wildlife and watersheds.

Green Nightmare: Burning Biomass is Not Renewable Energy
Ironically, just as delegates in Copenhagen are ramping up efforts to preserve forests globally to slow global warming, a technology that has the opposite effect is poised to wreak havoc on forests around the world. It's called biomass burning: chipping up trees and burning them in power plants to create electricity. The idea is that if you replace burning fossil fuels with burning wood the planet and climate will be better off. The concept that burning anything is good for the climate seems a little suspect, but could a civilization with six billion people, spaceships, and microwave ovens power itself by burning trees? Probably not.

Trees: Out of the Forest and Into the Oven
Millions of trees, especially from the developing countries of the South, are being shipped to Europe and burned in giant furnaces to meet "green energy" requirements that are supposed to combat climate change. New energy plants will burn 20 to 30 million tonnes of wood annually, nearly all imported from other regions and equivalent to at least one million hectares of forest. "Europe is going to cook the world's tropical forests to fight climate change; it's crazy," Simone Lovera, of the non-governmental Global Forest Coalition. MagForest claims it can ship 100,000 tonnes of tropical hardwood and softwood a month from Ghana. Sky Trading, a U.S. company, is offering to supply up to 600,000 tonnes of woodchips for biomass from the United States or Brazil. Nearly all of the tree plantations have been developed at the expense of natural forest, which has numerous consequences: herbicide and fertiliser runoff pollutes water sources, sediment and plant waste for logging operations clog streams, soils are degraded, and habitat for other species is lost.

    Related Article: Biorefineries get $564m funding (a competitive use of forest resources)
      American Process - $17.9m for its project in Alpena, MI, which will produce 890,000 gal/year
      ethanol fuel and 690,000 gal/year potassium acetate using processed wood starting in 2011.

Wood-fired power plants are no environmental cure-all
Fortunately, scientists are beginning to consider biomass with a more skeptical eye. The Massachusetts study, which will be reviewed by an independent advisory panel, should ensure that the state does not give a boost to biomass plants that harm both the atmosphere and the state’s forests. Biomass and biofuels have won privileged status in global warming agreements in part because the carbon dioxide they absorb from the atmosphere would return to it no matter what - either through burning or through natural decomposition over time. But only recently has it begun to sink in that, far from lowering emissions, leveling a forest full of carbon-absorbing trees adds to emissions - whether the trees are burned in a power plant or simply removed to clear land for biofuel crops like corn or soybeans.

Massachusetts Dept of Energy Resources Order Sustainability Study pdf
The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources has finally acknowledged that the state’s plans for biomass power development may not be sustainable. The state recently contracted for a new "harvesting sustainability" study, which is the Manomet study referred to in the letter. Here’s the key section: “DOER will await the work of the Manomet analysis to inform the integration of “sustainability” into our RPS regulation and our policy on biomass energy development generally. Until this work is done, and the Commonwealth has the necessary confidence that its incentives for biomass energy will produce appropriately sustainable results, DOER will suspend its consideration of biomass energy applications for qualification under the MA RPS program.”

China on Reducing Its Carbon Footprint: Why Should We Have to?
The accumulation of carbon in the atmosphere has been growing for the past two centuries, during which Europe and the United States emerged as industrial powers. Eighty percent of the gases in the atmosphere are the result of emissions by the developed countries, and on a per capita basis it is even more.

Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States
This web page will introduce and lead you through the content of the most comprehensive and authoritative report of its kind. The report summarizes the science and the impacts of climate change on the United States, now and in the future. It focuses on climate change impacts in different regions of the U.S. and on various aspects of society and the economy such as energy, water, agriculture, and health. It’s also a report written in plain language, with the goal of better informing public and private decision making at all levels.

We advocate getting the best economic return for industrial use of the Midwest's forests, and there is no lower return than throwing it in the furnace ... There are fewer jobs per cord, per acre, from biomass than any other use.
Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter

Bio-fuel raises concerns about forests
"There simply is nowhere near enough waste wood for all of these biomass projects that are popping up all over the place," said Marvin Roberson, a forest policy specialist with the Sierra Club in Michigan. A realistic estimate of biomass available in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin was 4.1 million tons a year. A recent study found demand soon could reach 5.7 million tons. Removing too much woody debris, instead of letting it decay and nourish soils, can damage the health of the forest, he said.

Biomass, the unsustainable energy source
To support healthy plant life soil must contain organic matter, plants don’t thrive on minerals and photosynthesis alone. As organic matter breaks down in soil nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur are released. Organic matter is the main source of energy (food) for microorganisms. A higher level of microbial activity at a plants root zone increases the rate of nutrient transfer to the plant. As the organic matter decreases in soil so does this biochemical activity. Without organic matter, soil biochemical activity would nearly stop. In addition to being a storehouse of nutrients, decaying plant matter keeps soil loose, helping soil remain both porous and permeable as well as gaining better water holding capacity. This is not only beneficial to plant growth but is essential for soil stability. Soil becomes more susceptible to erosion of all types as organic matter content is reduced. The value of returning organic matter to the soil has been well-known to farmers since the earliest days of agriculture. Crop residues and animal waste are tilled back into the soil to promote fertility.

NASA: Biomass Burning
Scientists estimate that humans are responsible for about 90% of biomass burning with only a small percentage of natural fires contributing to the total amount of vegetation burned. Burning vegetation releases large amounts of particulates (solid carbon combustion particles) and gases, including greenhouse gases that help warm the Earth. Greenhouse gases may lead to an increased warming of the Earth or human-initiated global climate change. Studies suggest that biomass burning has increased on a global scale over the last 100 years, and computer calculations indicate a hotter Earth resulting from global warming. Biomass burning particulates impact climate and can also affect human health when they are inhaled, causing respiratory problems.

Florida To Subsidize European Raid on State Forest Land
$750,000 of state funds has been allocated to benefit a foreign company that will manufacture wood pellets for the European power industry. Green Circle Bio Energy Inc., owned by the Swedish company JCE Group, thanks to Florida taxpayers. JCE Group, a wealthy Swedish offshore oil rig and shipping company, will set up an industrial wood pellet operation in Jackson County. Their planned production output is 550,000 tons of wood pellets a year for export. JCE Group will ship these vast quantities of wood pellets to several European power plants, Wood pellets are becoming an energy commodity traded worldwide. [Editor: Many countries are experiencing a wood shortage already to power their biomass burners. It appears that international shipping of biomass material is the new equivalent of imported foreign oil.]

Wood Pellets Catch Fire as Renewable Energy Source
European utilities are snapping up the small combustible pellets to burn in existing power plants. As a global marketplace emerges to feed their growing appetite for pellets. Wood pellets -- cylinders of dried shredded wood that resemble large vitamins -- meet European renewable-energy mandates, utility executives and industry consultants say. The wood-pellet market is booming because the European Union has rules requiring member countries to generate 20% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020. Europe imported €66.2 million (about $92.6 million) of pellets and other wood-based fuels in the first three months of 2009, up 62% from the same period a year earlier, according to the EU's statistical arm. Wood pellets are becoming the newest global commodity, with prices posted on an Amsterdam energy exchange, Mr. Schukken said. "It is becoming like trading coal." [Editor: Will Michigan woodlands be similarly raided to feed the growing need for fuel worldwide?]

Aquatic ecological risks due to cyanide releases from biomass burning
Aquatic toxicity due to the creation and mobilization of chemical constituents by fire has been little studied, despite reports of post-fire fish kills attributed to unspecified pyrogenic toxicants. We examined releases of cyanides from biomass burning and their effect on surface runoff water. In laboratory test burns, available cyanide concentrations in leachate from residual ash were much higher than in leachate from partially burned and unburned fuel and were similar to or higher than the 96-h median lethal concentration (LC50) for rainbow trout (45 microg/l). Free cyanide concentrations in stormwater runoff collected after a wildfire in North Carolina averaged 49 microg/l, again similar to the rainbow trout LC50 and an order of magnitude higher than in samples from an adjacent unburned area. Pyrogenic cyanide inputs, together with other fire-related stressors, may contribute to post-fire fish mortalities, particularly those affecting salmonids.

In the early 1970s, ecologist Barry Commoner wrote The Closing Circle, in which he discussed the rapid growth of industry and technology and their persistent effect on all forms of life. He suggested that we can reduce the negative effects by sensitizing, informing and educating ourselves about our connection to the natural world. Commoner summarized the basics of ecology into what he termed “laws of ecology.” Here are five laws of ecology: 1. Everything is connected to everything else. 2. Everything has to go somewhere or there is no such place as away. 3. Everything is always changing. 4. There is no such thing as a free lunch. 5. Everything has limits.

The following biomass energy permits are available for public review

Power Scorecard: Biomass
The collection of biomass fuels can have significant environmental impacts. Harvesting timber and growing agricultural products for fuel requires large volumes to be collected, transported, processed and stored. The collection, processing and combustion of biomass fuels may cause environmental problems if, for example, the fuel source contains toxic contaminants, agricultural waste handling pollutes local water resources, or burning biomass deprives local ecosystems of nutrients that forest or agricultural waste may otherwise provide.

Actual Greenhouse Gas Emissions compared by industry in Sweden
Sweden compiles annual data on its emissions of climate-changing gases as required by guidelines developed under the Climate Convention and the EU monitoring mechanisms. [Editor: Road transportation and energy production generate most of the greenh0use gases. Therefore we need to develop energy resources that do not burn material, or transport material to be burned via trucks, if we are to achieve our CO2 reduction goals in the United States. Much more of our focus must go into power generation from wind, sun, water movement, refining fuel from algae, and geothermal.]

Letter from Trout Unlimited
The harvesting of large wooded tracts disrupts the streams and rivers that flow through these forests, and the subsequent erosion of denuded forest land washes silt and debris into these rivers and streams. Instead of removing mountaintops to get at buried coal and dumping the resultant soil and debris into adjacent rivers and streams, forest harvesting provides another means to contaminate, disrupt, and pollute our waters. Under either scenario, fish and wildlife suffer. This loophole for biomass/trash combustion allows power plants burning these fuels to generate unlimited and uncontrolled amounts of carbon dioxide (C02). According to U.S. Department of Energy figures, by 2020 biomass burning alone will generate 700,000,000 million tons of C02 per year. The bottom line is that classifying combustion of these fuels as a "renewable energy source" means that their use is promoted and subsidized by the House bill, even though their C02 emissions accelerate climate change.

Opponents of biomass wood-burning plant say project would threaten fish
While the hearing process for the Russell Biomass plant continues, opponents say the project would threaten fish and that changes sought to the original permit would exacerbate traffic and other problems. Margaret Sheehan, a lawyer with EcoLaw, a volunteer group promoting renewable energy policy that does not harm the environment, on Tuesday called the Russell Biomass contention that the plant discharge would not harm the river environment "preposterous." The heated effluent, she said, will contain aluminum and other pollutants, that are toxic to young Atlantic salmon.

Biomass Emissions and Safety Regulations: a Primer pdf
Wood combustion is one of the largest sources of primary particulate matter (PM) air pollution in the United States. What will be the outcome of the potential tension between rising public interest in biomass-based heating systems and public concerns with emissions and health impacts of such systems? Emission standards are becoming more stringent. Will they limit the market for biomass heating systems – with the potential underutilization of a regionally based energy resource; or lead to the emergence of a larger northeast market featuring more energy efficient, lower emitting biomass technologies? Numerous health studies have linked short- and long-term exposure to elevated levels of PM with a wide range of damaging impacts on the circulatory system and lungs. The public health concerns intensify when wood-burning units are located in homes, schools or hospitals in close proximity to sensitive populations, such as children, asthmatics, and individuals with pre-existing respiratory disease or cardiac problems.

FACT SHEET: Projections of Biomass Emissions
A 50 MW woodburning biomass plant will emit approximately 500,000 tons a year of CO2. Roughly extrapolating this means that under a 20% RPS mandate, in 2020 combustion based biomass would produce 700,000,000 tons of CO2 emissions each year. (graph included at web site)

Forest Industry Professionals Come Out Against Biomass Burning
We don't want to overharvest the forest, we want to make sure there's enough residue on the forest floor," said Keith Reopelle of Clean Wisconsin.

Forest Impacts if Proposed Biomass Incinerators Are Allowed
The animations add the demand for wood for 5 proposed biomass incinerators in Massachusetts to the current wood demand, which is mainly for lumber and cord wood. The animations demonstrate the land area in western and central Massachusetts that would be required to be logged to satisfy the total demand for these 5 plants which would add only about 1 percent to Massachusetts' electrical generating capacity.

State Forest Management Agency Greenwashes Destruction
In Massachusetts the state Department of Conservation and Recreation, an agency that's supposed to be protecting our forests, is destroying them for cash from firewood.

The Massachusetts Environmental Energy Alliance
Biomass plants proposed for electricity generation in Western Massachusetts will deplete forest reserves, increase carbon dioxide emissions, and worsen air and water pollution.

Biomass Briefing, October 2009: a Comprehensive Study
Three large-scale biomass plants are in the permitting process in Massachusetts. If built, they will have significant forest cutting, greenhouse gas, and air pollution impacts. The purpose of this document is give an overview of some of these impacts, summarizing information from a variety of sources.

Clearcutting Forests for Biomass Based Energy
The State is “aggressively” pushing and subsidizing the development of 5 large forest incinerators, a.k.a biomass power plants, which would increase pollution, release massive quantities of CO2, triple the logging rate on all Massachusetts forests (all forests could be logged in 25 years) but provide only 1% more power. Achievable conservation measures could reduce demand by 33%. Public forests are targeted to provide biomass fuel using logging rates 10 times higher than historical levels. (Lots of photos of Biomass Fuel harvesting)

Biomass energy 'could be harmful'
Biomass power - such as burning wood for energy - could do more harm than good in the battle to reduce greenhouse gases, the Environment Agency warns.

Biomass burning causes record high peaks in PCBs in the Arctic
Peaks in levels of PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) in the Arctic atmosphere are due to burning of biomass in areas such as Eastern Europe and North America. To our knowledge, this is the first study relating atmospheric PCB enhancements with biomass burning. The strong effects on observed concentrations far away from the sources, suggest that biomass burning is an important source of PCBs for the atmosphere.

United Nations Map of Major Ecosystem Complexes
The Olson Vegetation data set represents the world's Major Ecosystem Complexes ranked by the amounts of carbon in live vegetation. It was compiled by Jerry Olson, J. Watts and L. Allison at the Environmental Sciences Division of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, USA. The data set has a one-half degree latitude/longitude spatial resolution and a total of 44 land ecosystem classes; these classes were devised in a global format to facilitate the ongoing evaluation of estimated carbon in plants

United Nations World Atlas of Desertification
Plants and Trees and necessessary in reducing the dangerously high levels of CO2 in the environment. Burning biomass lowers natures ability to absorb CO2, while suddenly releasing more CO2 in massive quantities into the environment through compustion. The World Atlas of Desertification was published by UNEP in 1992 as the result of a cooperative effort between UNEP's Desertification Control Programme Activity Centre (DC/PAC), the Global Environment Monitoring System (GEMS) and the Global Resource Information Database (GRID). GRID compiled and/or derived most of the global and regional databases, produced the maps and carried out the data analyses and tabulations for the Atlas, assisted by a Technical Advisory Group on Desertification Assessment and Mapping composed of various international experts.

Biomass and Other Burning Under H.R.2454 Will Raise Atmospheric CO2 Levels PDF
Burning biomass and trash accelerates the rise in atmospheric CO2 • Burning to generate renewable electricity – Emits highly toxic air pollutants – Uses large volumes of water – Discharge of heated effluent to our waters – Results in deforestation when wood is the fuel; forest protection provisions of HR 2454 are weak and rely upon intensive government regulationon to ensure compliance

A Comparison of the Environmental Consequences of Power from Biomass, Coal, and Natural Gas pdf
A systematic analytical method used to quantify the environmental benefits and drawbacks of a process performed on all processes...

Carbon Cycling in Sub-Arctic Ecosystems pdf
Global climate is projected to change rapidly during the next half century as a result of alterations in the chemical composition of the atmosphere. Further, climate change may be more pronounced in the northern hemisphere. If the projected changes in global climate occur, the impact on terrestrial ecosystem processes is expected to be substantial. Considerable uncertainty exists regarding responses and feedbacks of forest ecosystems to global climate change. Of particular interest is the role of tundra, peat lands and boreal forests in cycling and sequestering carbon because nearly one-third of the world's terrestrial carbon may be stored in these ecosystems.

Policy, Education, and Citizen Action

A Forest Journey: The Story of Wood and Civilization | Book
Until the ascendancy of fossil fuels, wood has been the principal fuel and building material from the dawn of civilization. Its abundance or scarcity greatly shaped the culture, demographics, economy, internal and external politics, and technology of successive societies over the millennia. The book's comprehensive coverage of the major role forests have played in human life­told with grace, fluency, imagination, and humor­gained it recognition as a Harvard Classic in Science and World History and as one of Harvard's “One-Hundred Great Books.”

TCL&P Seeks Clear Path to Clean Energy
TRAVERSE CITY—In a state where two utilities are pursuing approval for new coal-fired power plants, this town’s municipal electric utility is striving to go in a different direction. Traverse City Light & Power is asking residents to help them settle on a plan for reaching an ambitious goal: providing 30 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020—roughly three times more than the standard the state set last year for all Michigan utilities. The company wants to draw exclusively on the region’s local natural resources—wind, landfill gas, sunshine, and especially wood—to meet its 30 percent goal. M’Lynn Hartwell, a local environmental activist who strongly opposes building new coal plants but is also wary about biomass, said that it’s important that TCL&P move forward. “I want to see this community make an intelligent decision," she said. "We are at a tipping point locally and globally, and we can't afford any more missteps.” [Editor: M'Lynn states that to keep her comment within the context it was spoken, she was promoting green technologies that do NOT involve burning coal or wood—such as solar, wind, geothermal, and hydro.]

    Related Article: Report to Traverse City Light and Power for 2009 Customer Research (jump to page 82)

Biomass plan a step backwards opinion
There is a whole realm of this biomass discussion that deserves further scrutiny. A pellet fuel entrepreneur recently explained in the Empire, "Biomass can't be taken out of the forest profitably unless it comes as a waste product generated by another, more profitable activity such as logging for sawlogs." This statement causes me great concern. As most any gardener will tell you, a successful growing season depends on starting with well-drained, nutrient-rich soil. The same can be said for our temperate rainforest. The Tongass has been recycling its nutrients for millennia, derived in large part from the "biomass" the pellet fuel guy calls "a waste product." That biomass depends on complex interactions from mammals to micro-organisms to make its nutrients available to tree roots. That same biomass also represents stored carbon, which when burned as pellet fuel, unnecessarily accelerates climate change and ocean acidification.

Sustainable/Holistic vs. Destructive/Conventional Agriculture
In a sustainable system of agriculture (the Dream Farm is close to such an ideal, the waste from one process is the input for another process, with the whole system composed of many coupled cycles of CLOSED loops feeding on one another, and carbon intake and output is balanced just as other nutrients. Conventional, modern agriculture is unsustainable and climate damaging in many ways.

Rethinking plans for wood-burning power plants
Wood, also known as biomass, has long been part of the state’s portfolio of renewable energy sources, along with solar, wind, and geothermal. But some environmental activists say biomass plants could lead to the clear cutting of forests while pumping more carbon dioxide into the air than coal plants, adding to global warming. State Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian Bowles says the administration now wants more information about the possible negative effects of the wood-burning plants. “Difficult questions about biomass have arisen in the past year,’’ Bowles said. “We are asking those hard questions and asking them in a way that no other states have asked them.’’ Meg Sheehan, an attorney based in Cambridge, calls biomass “a false solution to the climate change crisis.’’ “They are trying to convince the public that this is clean and green when it is neither,’’ she said. “It is an incinerator that burns wood.’’

On wood, burning questions
Wood’s green credentials are coming under attack. Just like wind projects, where concerns about bird safety and aesthetics have stalled dozens of proposals, biomass is the latest alternative energy source to undergo deep public scrutiny. A biomass plant producing enough power for 1,000 homes needs roughly 13,000 tons of wood a year, said Eric Kingsley of Innovative Natural Resource Solutions LLC, a forestry consultant based in Maine. “We’re not going to manage our forests in an ecologically unsustainable way because of the increasing interest in biomass,’’ said Ian Bowles, Massachusetts secretary of energy and environmental affairs. Still, he said, “the time has come to ask the hard questions’’ about biomass.

Letter to: Ian A. Bowles, Secretary Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs | REPORT pdf
Dear Secretary Bowles, I’m writing to share with you a resource that I have discovered on the web. It was put together by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and it maps and models how many MW of power can be supported by the biomass resources on a given area of land (website). Using the model, I ran an analysis that is quite relevant to the $100,000 biomass sustainability study recently commissioned by the state. The NREL model assumes that only the residues that are generated from existing forestry operations are available to be used as biomass fuel. In this sense, it is happily congruent with the recent paper in Science by Searchinger et al, which concludes “harvesting existing forests for electricity adds net carbon to the air. That remains true even if limited harvest rates leave the carbon stocks of regrowing forests unchanged, because those stocks would otherwise increase and contribute to the terrestrial carbon sink.” REPORT

Anything that creates pollution in the course of producing electricity shouldn't be considered clean, green or renewable. Wind and solar, even though they have some environmental impacts in their construction don't have to keep polluting in order to make electricity.

Keep biomass burning and incinerators out of America's Clean Energy bill
In the coming months the Senate will write its version of the "American Clean Energy and Security Act" known as ACES. Make sure that it actually promotes clean energy. Bowing to industry pressure, the House version would not reduce CO2 emissions until at least 2026, in part because burning biomass and trash is considered "clean and green". Incinerators that produce millions of tons of CO2 and other pollutants will be subsidized by taxpayer dollars. Unbelievably, the House sees this as a solution to global warming! The Senate can do better. President Obama needs to step forward to provide leadership on this issue for many reasons, including the savings in health costs that will result from reducing emissions of CO2 and other pollutants. In order to save the climate the Senate bill must eliminate preferential provisions for biomass power generation and trash burning incinerators.

Energy Justice Network
Additional information may be found at the Energy Justice Network is the grassroots energy agenda, supporting communities threatened by polluting energy and waste technologies. Taking direction from our grassroots base and the Principles of Environmental Justice, we advocate a clean energy, zero-emission, zero-waste future for all.

Petition to the EPA: Black Liquor
18-Nov-2009—We do not oppose the continued use of black liquor as an electricity source by one of the largest energy consuming industries in our nation -- black liquor neither needs to be given an economic incentive to ensure its continued use (it is a free “waste” byproduct created by the user), nor should it be recognized as a new, clean, climate-friendly biofuel as it is not. The current tax credit loophole for this fuel is in the 2005 transportation bill, and though it is set to expire at the end of 2009, it has already cost taxpayers billions of dollars in payouts to those virgin pulp and paper companies who have shamelessly applied for it.

Biomass plant proposed raises opposition at standing-room-only Public Health Council meeting
SPRINGFIELD - The sentiment was clear: There are a lot of citizens opposed to a biomass plant proposed for East Springfield. The Pine Point Community Center drew a standing-room-only crowd on Wednesday night for a Public Health Council meeting that focused on the Palmer Renewable Energy project proposed for 1000 Page Blvd. which would burn wood chips derived from construction and demolition debris to generate energy. “This plant isn’t going to save us a penny if it goes forward, not one penny,” Bewsee said. Mary S. Booth, co-founder of the Massachusetts Environmental Energy Alliance, followed Bewsee with a presentation in which she said lead, mercury, arsenic, chromium and dioxins would be emitted from the plant. “Quality of air is quality of life,” Booth said.

Opponents Present Biomass Health Hazards
The plant will burn more than just wood. "The construction and demolition waste, they say they'll burn 700 tons of it a day," says Megan Jenny, a spokesperson for Toxic Action Center. And according to presenters, that demolition waste is comprised of plastics, pressure treated wood, painted wood, composite plywood sealed with glue. "It's atrocious what this plant will do with the amount of lead and arsenic that will be going through the air," says councilor-elect John Lysak.

“Green” Biomass Plant May See Red
According to J. Kirk Edwards of Ferrisburgh, Vt., a community activist and a critic of what he terms "feel good, costly alternative power projects", claims the (Middlebury) college left out details about the plant. "This project has been oversold," he said. "I wonder if the residents of Bridport, Weybridge, Shoreham and Cornwall are ready to receive the diesel fumes, noise, potholes and the consequences of some 912 truckloads of wood chips heading to campus..."

Public must have biomass input
Nov. 8--Traverse City Light & Power officials say they have not made any decisions on where four proposed biomass energy plants -- which burn scrap wood to make electricity -- might be located around Traverse City. For that matter, the city-owned utility says, it currently doesn't have a biomass plan at all. "We don't have a plan, we don't have a size, we don't have a location," utility spokesman Jim Cooper said last week. That may be; but the city-owned utility is sure acting that way. And given its track record city residents may want to sit up and take careful notice of what Light & Power says and what it does -- or tries to do.

Michigan Public Service Commission States that No Additional Energy Production Capacity is Required
According to the MPSC report, the power plant proposals from both companies did not take adequate account of the declining demand for electricity in the state, the increase in efficiency and renewables programs and anticipated legislation that would levy new taxes on coal. Further given Michigan’s current recessionary condition and uncertainty concerning the time frame for recovery, Wolverine’s forecasted demand growth of approximately 2.0% appears questionable, or optimistic, and the risk associated with this uncertainty was not fully addressed. [Editor: It appears that Traverse City Light and Power has joined other utilities in producing overly optimistic data when it comes to unnecessary and unneededgrowth in power generating capacity.]

Biomass Burning: Energy Conference Update by Jeff Gibbs
16-Nov. 2009— Thanks to a presentation from a biomass plant salesman at last weekend’s energy conference at Crystal Mountain, we have a little more information about what a biomass plant would mean for Traverse City and why such wood and waste burners ought not to be installed in the name of green energy. Frankly, Mark Wiitanen, as salesman from HDR, didn’t seem like he had his heart in selling these things as he told the crowd... Click Herefor Mark Wiitanen's presentation (19.5Mb)

Concerns raised over biomass plans
Traverse City—Community activist M'Lynn Hartwell spoke about how biomass technology may be worse than coal-fired power production because research shows there are more cyanide and arsenic releases, as well as, more particulate matter in the emitted smoke, among other concerns. "Environmentally or economically, biomass appears to be an irresponsible choice for this community and we need to continue to look for other options," she said. Utility officials said they are planning a ... public relations campaign designed to sell the idea. M'Lynn sits on the Board of Directors of NMEAC (Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council). [EDITOR: If you need to pay a public relations firm several thousands of dollars (Light & Power approved a $5,500 contract) to sell a community on an idea—it is most likely a very bad idea.] carbon in wooden buildings is included in the models, timber harvest results in a net flux of CO2 to the atmosphere.

Anything that creates pollution in the course of producing electricity shouldn't be considered clean, green or renewable. Wind and solar, even though they have some environmental impacts in their construction don't have to keep polluting in order to make electricity.

Keep biomass burning and incinerators out of America's Clean Energy bill
In the coming months the Senate will write its version of the "American Clean Energy and Security Act" known as ACES. Make sure that it actually promotes clean energy. Bowing to industry pressure, the House version would not reduce CO2 emissions until at least 2026, in part because burning biomass and trash is considered "clean and green". Incinerators that produce millions of tons of CO2 and other pollutants will be subsidized by taxpayer dollars. Unbelievably, the House sees this as a solution to global warming! The Senate can do better. President Obama needs to step forward to provide leadership on this issue for many reasons, including the savings in health costs that will result from reducing emissions of CO2 and other pollutants. In order to save the climate the Senate bill must eliminate preferential provisions for biomass power generation and trash burning incinerators.

Letter from Trout Unlimited
The harvesting of large wooded tracts disrupts the streams and rivers that flow through these forests, and the subsequent erosion of denuded forest land washes silt and debris into these rivers and streams. Instead of removing mountaintops to get at buried coal and dumping the resultant soil and debris into adjacent rivers and streams, forest harvesting provides another means to contaminate, disrupt, and pollute our waters. Under either scenario, fish and wildlife suffer. This loophole for biomass/trash combustion allows power plants burning these fuels to generate unlimited and uncontrolled amounts of carbon dioxide (C02). According to U.S. Department of Energy figures, by 2020 biomass burning alone will generate 700,000,000 million tons of C02 per year. The bottom line is that classifying combustion of these fuels as a "renewable energy source" means that their use is promoted and subsidized by the House bill, even though their C02 emissions accelerate climate change.

Asking for disaster PDF
Most disasters are not random events without underlying causes. They are the sudden manifestation of slow continuous degradation processes. Risks multiply through lack of concern or failure to find alternatives.

Is climate change increasing the frequency of hazardous events? pdf
With growing population and infrastructures the world’s exposure to natural hazards is inevitably increasing. Questions: is the increase due to a significant improvement in access to information? What part does population growth and infrastructure development play? Finally, is climate change behind the increasing frequency of natural hazards?

Traverse City Light and Power 2009 Report pdf
Report to Traverse City Light & Power for 2009 Customer Research. Jump to page 53. The report compiled from consumer interviews clearly indicates a strong interest in solar and wind, with a luke warm interest in biomass combustion.

Biomass Energy Handbook pdf
Download the most recent version of the U.S. Department of Energy handbook entitled, "The Biomass Energy Data Book"; a statistical compendium prepared and published by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) under contract with the Office of Planning. Currently published is Edition 1. Edition 2 will soon be published and will be posted here as soon as it is available.

Bureau of Energy Systems
The Bureau of Energy Systems promotes energy efficiency and renewable energy resource development to Michigan's residents, businesses and public institutions.

Michigan Renewables Energy Program (MREP)
The Michigan Renewables Energy Program (MREP) was established by the legislature, and implemented by the Public Service Commission, to promote the use of renewable energy in the state. A diverse group of individuals and organizations with knowledge and experience in energy production, technology, education, and policy development have been assembled to identify and address barriers to the advancement of renewables and recommend initiatives to increase renewable use in Michigan.


Biomass Conversion Research Laboratory MSU
We seek to shift the raw material basis of modern society away from excessive dependence on fossil resources, particularly petroleum, and toward biomass. As a global society, one of our greatest economic and environmental risks is our near total reliance on petroleum as a source of liquid transportation fuels.

Liberty Green
The United States is at the crossroads of a huge renewable market expansion and the need for a different renewable technology. Biomass power provides a cost competitive alternative to fossil fuel-fired plants, as well as other renewable energy technologies such as wind and solar. Increasing the use of biomass in the United States will reduce our reliance on imported sources of energy.

Biomass at Middlebury
In 2008, a team of people from across campus developed an implementation plan entitled “Winning the Race Together: Achieving Carbon Neutrality by 2016”. This plan emphasizes the need for institutional commitments coupled with participation from individuals and departments. Based on these recommendations, the College is pursuing pilot projects related to solar thermal, wind, and increased efficiency for campus buildings.

    Related Article: "Green" biomass plant may see red

Michigan Biomass Energy Program
Our goal is to encourage increased production and use of energy derived from Michigan's biomass resources through program policies, public and private partnerships, information dissemination, and state project grants.

Traverse City’s Utility Goes Greener
Instead of new coal power, firm plans big jump in renewables. TCLP officials told the Traverse City City Commission that their company, the first in the state to erect a commercial wind turbine, is now investing in a wind farm in Charlevoix County and planning to build up to five biomass-burning power plants in the Traverse City area.

Traverse City Light and Power pdf
March 29, 2005—Minutes of Special Meeting Held at 5:15 p.m., Commission Chambers, Governmental Center

Details behind proposed biomass plants
Traverse City Light and Power is proposing four to five of the plants near Traverse City. Traverse City Light and Power executive director Ed Rice says renewable energy is something Michigan is trying to increase. So the power company is taking hold of that idea with the proposal to build four to five biomass plants. The state currently has six biomass power plants that burn wood for energy. Five of those are right here in northern Michigan...and more could be on the way.

Biomass Plant Meeting
Traverse City Light and Power is seizing an opportunity they claim is too good to pass up. "The property has recently come up. It is listed with a realty firm. It would be an ideal situation. We just hate to lose that opportunity because once its lost theres not many sites." says Ed Rice, Executive Director of TCLP While TCLP woudln't provide specifics they did tell me that the potential building site is just east of Cherry Capital Airport. Some residents say that is too close to schools and homes... and that burning wood chips for electricity is a bad idea.

Let the chips fly
As in all things, the devil is in the details. That’s the case with a wood-fired power plant proposed for an old potato field in Kalkaska County -- a rural area that has seen a big depletion of gas and oil production. The plan, developed by a Traverse City company called Rapid River Renewable Energy, comes at a time when everyone is talking about the shortage of fuel. Environmentalists, such as Bob Russell, one of the area’s most outspoken critics, says he has a good opinion about the 36-megawatt power plant that will burn wood chips to generate electricity. We shouldn’t cut forests for it, but if the forests are sustainably harvested for the limbs and brush that can be burned, it’s a good option. We just need to define the parameters to make sure it is waste wood.”

Biomass Energy from Crop and Forest Residues
Residues remaining after the harvest of crop and forestry products are being proposed as a substantial energy source for the nation. An estimated 22 percent of the residues might be utilized, providing a renewable source of energy with the potential of supplying 1 percent of the current U.S. gasoline consumption as ethanol or 4 percent of the total electrical energy used. These net energy benefits are limited by high energy costs to collect, transport, and process the residues. Environmental threats include soil erosion, water runoff, and nutrient loss.

There's Free Government [Taxpayer] Money in Biomass Production
Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) provides financial assistance to producers or entities that deliver eligible biomass material to designated biomass conversion facilities for use as heat, power, biobased products or biofuels. Initial assistance will be for the Collection, Harvest, Storage and Transportation (CHST) costs associated with the delivery of eligible materials. [Editor: Now you know why communities across the U.S. are flocking to Biomass ... there is free money ... nevermind the health and environmental consequences. You, and you, and you, dear citizen are picking up the tab to pay for a disaster in the making.]



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Biofuelwatch actively supports the campaign for an EU moratorium on agrofuels from large-scale monocultures. Agroenergy monocultures are linked to accelerated climate change, deforestation, the impoverishment and dispossession of local communities, bio-diversity losses, human rights abuses, water and soil degradation, loss of food sovereignty and food security.

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How it's Done: Deforestation Equipment Today

The McBain (Michigan) Biomass Energy Plant in Action

Biomass Power Plant Fire and Explosion
cooling system failure in Sittard (Netherlands
) | MORE

The Port Talbot and Holyhead biomass plants will require an area of dedicated biomass plantations half the size of Wales. A land area this size could feed up to a third of the population of Britain.

Listen to the People Who Live Next to A Biomass Plant
Interviews with people who share what live is like living next to a Biomass wood chip power plant

Quit Coal


Coal Kills

Coal Causes Disease

Coal Costs Taxpayers

Coal Pollutes the Environment

Coal Contributes to Climate Change

Burning Coal is a Seriously Stupid Idea!

Working to make Michigan the Leader in Solutions - not pollution