EPA’s decision to override established science and treat biomass energy as carbon neutral is disappointing for clean energy advocates and is a threat to the hard-won, science-based rules adopted in Massachusetts.
The State of Massachusetts is serious about reducing carbon emissions and policymakers realized that providing renewable energy subsidies to a technology that makes climate change worse didn’t make sense.
By pretending that cutting and burning whole trees doesn’t add carbon to the atmosphere, the newly watered-down Massachusetts regulations claim the legitimacy of being “based on Manomet” - while ignoring that study’s key finding.
What do Australia and Massachusetts have in common? Both governments are have cutting edge energy policies that acknowledge the drawbacks of biomass energy – showing that biomass energy is truly an emerging threat to forests worldwide, but that sane policy responses are possible.
A new report gives the most comprehensive listing to date of biomass power facilties proposed around the country, and the taxpayer and ratepayer-funded incentives driving explosive growth in the biomass industry.
The Massachusetts rules will require for first time anywhere in the world that renewable energy credits for biomass energy be granted based on a common sense, life cycle assessment of the carbon emissions of burning forest wood to generate electricity.
Using the Google Earth maps allowed us to see that census tracts surrounding the proposed Palmer Renewable Energy biomass plant in Springfield MA already have the highest combined respiratory and cancer risk in Western Massachusetts.
April 12 was a “hazardous” day for air quality in western Massachusetts, yet it's full speed ahead for the Palmer Renewable Energy plant in Springfield, which will be one of the largest emitters of particle pollution in the region.
When the dust settles from the public hearing on the Palmer Renewable Energy biomass plant in Springfield, MA, Hampden country will still be out of compliance with pollution standards for ozone, Springfield's kids will still have asthma and elevated blood lead levels at twice the state average, and the city will still be experiencing high particle pollution. And that's if they don't build the plant.
The Manomet study relies on a number of assumptions that minimize the calculation of net carbon emissions from biomass, meaning that actual emissions are likely significantly greater than the study concludes.
The only independent, multi-stakeholder study of the carbon impacts of burning trees to generate electricity found that it would take 40 years of forest regrowth just to get to parity in carbon pollution with burning coal for those same four decades. To get to parity with natural gas would take almost a century.