Environmental groups respond to Congressman Maloney dust-up with the White House over Taylor Biomass

Call for “clean energy” funds to be reserved for non-polluting projects

Environmental groups took their concerns to the White House today about providing “clean energy” funds to a controversial trash gasification plant proposed in Orange County NY.  The groups were responding to news reports that last week, Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney asked President Obama to intervene and promote a federal loan guarantee from the Department of Energy (DOE) for Taylor Biomass.

In a letter addressed to President Obama, the groups urged the President to review a report submitted to the DOE in May by the Partnership for Policy Integrity (PFPI) detailing inconsistencies between Taylor’s application and the goals of the federal clean energy programs.  The Taylor Biomass waste incinerator is seeking $100 million in federal loan guarantees from the DOE 1703 program, as well as a $33 million grant from the Department of Treasury’s 1603 program.

“We reviewed the Taylor Biomass application to DOE for the loan guarantee, over three thousand pages in all,” said Mary Booth, PFPI’s director.  “Our report to DOE on the Taylor Biomass proposal reveals that far from being a “clean” energy project, the plant will be a large source of conventional air pollution and greenhouse gases.”

Representative Maloney’s interaction with the White House made national headlines when it was reported that President Obama responded “testily” to a request to intervene at DOE and promote the loan guarantee for the garbage gasification project.

Laura Haight, Senior Environmental Associate at New York Public Interest Research Group, contributed to the PFPI report on Taylor Biomass. “We’re not surprised that the President didn’t want to discuss the project’s loan guarantee application,” said Ms. Haight. “Political pressure makes it harder for DOE to do its job and evaluate the project’s impacts objectively.”

Barbara Warren, Executive Director of Citizens’ Environmental Coalition, who contributed to the report, stated, “Local groups have requested information on the process, but Taylor claims its process is a trade secret. Taxpayers should not be asked to foot the bill for unproven, polluting and risky technology-therefore DOE should just say no to Taylor’s application.”

Dr. Michael Edelstein , President of Orange Environment, joined the letter to the White House. “Congressman Maloney obviously wants to promote jobs in his district. However, jobs shouldn’t be created at the expense of clean air – there are far better approaches to waste management than gasifying and burning garbage.”

The groups signing on to the letter were: Citizens’ Environmental Coalition, New York Public Interest Research Group, Orange Environment, Partnership for Policy Integrity, and the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter.


The letter to the White House is available here

PFPI’s report on Taylor Biomass, including the letter to DOE,  is available here

The CNN story on Representative Maloney’s interaction with the White House is available here

Partnership for Policy Integrity