Do We Really Want Polluting Biomass
Powerplants in our Communities? NO WAY!

Biomass energy is NOT clean. Do we want increased amounts of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) in our valleys? Instead of jumping on the biomass energy bandwagon, let's perform due diligence and think outside the box and find REAL alternatives that protect and enhance the health of our people and ecosystems.

08/01/2017 - While the Minerva wildfire burns at the edge of Quincy, California, the Plumas County Board of Supervisors voted in favor of a biomass plant to be built at the County Dept. of Health and Human Services complex and spending $400,000 of taxpayer money in matching funds on it while biomass plants around the state sit idle. This raises many important questions, but one of the first in my mind is this. This project, if it is successful, is purported to be a solution towards reducing the biomass available for wildfires in our forests. My question is: will this plant even make a dent in the amount of biomass that grows each year? Will it even begin to address the decades of overgrowth in our forests? I'd really like to know the answers to these questions.

There are examples of forests that are cared for. These include the work Collins Pine has done along hwy. 36 and the work the Greenville Rancheria has done along hwy. 89. What about alternatives like instead of spending millions to construct and operate a biomass plant, spend it on the labor requred to get into the forest and get the biomass out and then ship it out to large facilities that deal with biomass, pulp, etc. Perhaps this would even defray the cost of clearing the forests somewhat. We are blessed with railroads throughout the county - put them to use. Another option is to encourage light industry to create wood based specialty products. And, of course, there is always firewood. There are many options besides burning the biomass in Quincy. Let's think outside of the box. BTW, interesting timing for such and important public comment time and vote. I'm betting folks were a bit distracted by the wildfire.

"When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically. In this context the proponent of an activity, rather than the public, should bear the burden of proof. The process of applying the precautionary principle must be open, informed and democratic and must include potentially affected parties. It must also involve an examination of the full range of alternatives, including no action." - Wingspread Statement on the Precautionary Principle, Jan. 1998

There are plans afoot to build biomass energy plants in several communities of Plumas County, California; including Crescent Mills (Indian Valley), Quincy (near the student dormitories at Feather River College) and Portola.

The articles and reports below indicate that biomass energy is NOT clean and green as claimed. It is, in fact, a potential danger to our health and ecosystems.

What questions have not been asked? For instance, how much water does a biomass energy plant require? What happens to the heated waste water? If it is dumped in our streams, what are the effects on marine life and ecosystems as a whole especially in an already drought-stressed environment?

We need to think out-of-the-box on this. There are other ways of reducing the fuels in our forests. Perhaps we should consider composting - a process that is no more and probably less industry-intensive than a biomass pellet plant. A railroad runs right by the property where the proposed Crescent Mills pellet plant and biomass energy facility would be located. This proximity would enable shipments everywhere. "Indian Valley Organic Compost" - that's a great label! Or perhaps biofuels. Maybe composite lumber products. Lots of alternatives that will take thought and research to assure that they don't pose a danger to our health or the environment.

For energy, why not a large photovoltaic panel array? How about a large scale solar heated boiler system to provide heat.

In Indian Valley (Greenville, Crescent Mills and Taylorsville) we already have one 2.4 million dollar boondoggle - a water treatment plant that now sits idle. We don't need another monument to a lack of due diligence in our county. We must demand that all decision-makers abide by the Precautionary Principle.

Begin your reading with the May 8, 2015 letter from two Senators asking the EPA to NOT include biomass energy as a clean source of energy in the agency's Clean Power Plan.

I'm sure you all have other ideas and I hope you will share them with me and the community. Click here to send me an email.

Note that I intend on organizing this material better in the future. My priority at this point is to get the information out there to you. Thanks for your patience. Note too that since I wrote this nothing has happened with regards to the Indian Valley project. Also, during the two years that this information was made available to the Board of Supervisors, Sierra Institute, and the public at large, I have not received a single comment or question.

Senators Markey and Warren call for moratorium on bioenergy in the Obama Clean Power Plan (read article) (read/download letter)

Fixing a Critical Climate Accounting Error (Searchinger, et. al., Science Magazine, Oct 2009) (read/download report)

Letter from 90 Scientists to Congressional Leaders urging that biomass global warming emissions be accounted for properly (read/download report)

Letter to Senator Stabenow Showing how few Jobs are Created by Biomass Incinerators (read/download report)

Biomass Burning is Bad for the Economy and a Poor Job Creation Vehicle (read/download report)

Sustainable Biomass: A Modern Myth - A review of standards, criteria, and schemes certifying industrial biomass as "sustainable", with particular emphasis on UK biomass electricity developments (read/download report)

Biomass Sustainability and Carbon Policy Study (June 2010 report by Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts) (read/download report)

Wood Based Bioenergy: The Green Lie The impact of wood-based bioenergy on forests and forest dependent people (May, 2010). Prepared by the Global Forest Coalition. (read/download report)

Biomass Electricity: Clean Energy Subsidies for a Dirty Industry - The case for ending taxpayer and ratepayer subsidies that harm public health, environment, climate, and forests. (read/download report)

Biomass Incineration and Climate by Mike Ewall, Energy Justice Network (read/download report)

Dirtier than Coal?: Why Government Plans to Subsidize Burning Trees are Bad News for the Planet (read/download report)

Letter from 90 Scientists to Congressional Leaders urging that biomass global warming emissions be accounted for properly (read/download report)

Climate of Deception: Why Electricity Consumers Who Care About Global Warming and Air Pollution Need FTC Protection from Biomass Industy Greenwashing (read article) (read/download report)

Biomass Energy Pollution - No Better than Coal (read/download report)

World Health Organization Report on Biomass Burning (read/download report)

California Biomass Plants Fined $835,000; Decree Cites Failure to Comply With Emissions Standards and Monitoring Requirements (read article)

Trees, Trash, and Toxics: How Biomass Energy Has Become the New Coal (read/download report)

Biomass Supply on the Plumas National Forest Opportunities and Challenges (read/download report)

Biomass Electricity: Clean Energy Subsidies for a Dirty Industry: The case for ending taxpayer and ratepayer subsidies that harm public health, environment, climate, and forests. (read/download report)

Union of Concerned Scientists: Environmental Impacts of Biomass for Electricity (read article)

Framework for Assessing Biogenic CO2 Emissions from Stationary Sources (read/download report)

Carbon emissions from burning biomass for energy Is biomass "Worse than coal"? Yes, if you're interested in reducing carbon dioxide emissions anytime in the next 40 years (read/download report)

"Renewable" biomass power cuts forests, pollutes the air, drains rivers, and worsens global warming (read/download report)

Sierra Institute for Community and Environment, Plumas Energy Efficiency and Renewables Management Action Plan(PEER MAP), PIR-12-003 (read/download report)

Sierra Institute for Community and Environment, Application to Sierra Nevada Conservancy Proposition 84 Grant Plumas Community Energy Wood Processing Facility (read/download report)

HAP Potential to Emit Emission Factors for Biomass Boilers Located in Pacific Northwest Indian Country (read/download report)

Biomass is Dirty Business (read/download report)

Tribal Energy and Environmental Information Clearinghouse: Biomass Energy Operations Impacts (read report)

Economic and Environmental Impact of Biomass Types for Bioenergy Power Plants (read/download report)

Dangers of Biomass Energy (read article)

American Lung Association (1) (read/download report)

American Lung Association (2) (read/download report)

Biomass Energy: The Biggest Rip-off in Gainesville History (read/download report)

Epidemiologic Investigation to Identify Chronic Effects of Ambient Air Pollutants in Southern California (read/download report)

North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians: Adverse Health Consequences from Biomass Energy Plants (read/download report)

American Lung Association of New England: Biomass Position Statement (read/download report)

Wood Pellets: Green Energy or New Source of CO2 Emissions? (read article)

A city goes renewable, but raises questions about impact of biomass power (read article)

Wood Pellet Manufacturing is Risky Business and it Just Got Even Riskier (read article)

Controlling Emissions in a Growing Wood Pellet Marketplace (read article)


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