Overview of the biomass power industry Collapse
  • M. Booth report for Environmental Working Group: “Clearcut Disaster” : implications for forest cutting and carbon emissions from biomass under a federal renewable electricity standard
  • PFPI factsheet highlighting CO2, forest, water, and air pollution impacts of biopower, as well as subsidies
  • PFPI comprehensive report on biomass energy in Pennsylvania, including detail on emissions from small-scale biomass burners
  • Synapse report: The Hidden Costs of Electricity– solid overview and comparison of biomass power with fossil fuel generation, includes information on how biomass power is regulated compared with fossil fuels
Wood burning for energy threatens forests Collapse
Wood pellet manufacturing is a massive emerging threat to forests
The biomass energy industry uses whole trees for fuel
A critical eye on estimates of biomass availability
Washington State
  • Letter to Washington State legislature, explaining how WA State DNR got biomass carbon accounting wrong and how biomass fuel demand in the state will soon outstrip the supply of “residues” (this letter references the proposed 65 MW Adage biomass plant in Mason County; plans for this plant have since been withdrawn)
  • Letter from WA State Lands Commissioner Goldmark to Mason County commissioners, expressing concern that there is not enough wood to fuel proposed Adage plant.
Vermont
  • PFPI critique of Innovative Natural Resources Solution’s “biomass availability” studies for Vermont
Southeast
  • Review of Abt et al study that purported to show availability of biomass fuel in Southeast, but which relied on using pulpwood from paper industry to make up fuel deficits
National
  • Environmental Working Group: Report on the forest cutting and carbon emissions implications of biomass power under the federal renewable energy standard proposed in the American Clean Energy and Security Act (the “Waxman Markey” bill of 2009)
  • Documentation that biomass facilities currently use “whole tree chips” for fuel; Duke Energy statements on need to use whole trees because logging residues are insufficient.
Threats to water resources from biomass energy Collapse
  • Synapse report: The Hidden Costs of Electricity – good overview and includes information on water withdrawals from bioenergy compared to other fossil fuels
  • Mary Booth comment letter on water withdrawal permit for Russell Biomass, in Massachusetts (plant now cancelled)
  • Mary Booth comment letter on NPDES permit for Russell Biomass
  • PFPI factsheet highlighting CO2, forest, water, and air pollution impacts of biopower, as well as subsidies
Air Pollution emissions from biomass burning Collapse
General Resources for air quality research
  • AIRNOW website showing air pollution conditions in real time for the whole country
  • EPA “Greenbook” showing which areas of the country fail to meet EPA air quality standards
  • EPA overview on “criteria” pollutants
  • Directions for downloading EPA’s National Air Toxics Assessment (NATA) visualizations and data
Biomass plants can be large polluters
  • News Release: Large fines from EPA for two polluting biomass burners in California
  • Wall Street Journal article: “Wood-fired plants generate violations”
Health effects of biomass energy emissions
Health organizations oppose biomass energy
  • American Lung Association Energy Policy that opposes biomass combustion for heat and power
  • Massachusetts Medical Society passes a resolution against large-scale biomass plants
  • Florida Medical Association resolution against waste incineration and biomass burning
  • American Lung Association letter urging federal renewable energy legislation not promote biomass power
  • American Lung Association (MA) statement of concern about emissions from the proposed Russell Biomass plant
  • Hampden District Medical Society (MA) statement of concern about Palmer Renewable Energy
  • Comprehensive list from Energy Justice Network: statements from medical societies and ALA on health effects of bioenergy
Comment letters on air permits and environmental filings for biomass plants
  • M. Booth comment on Russell Biomass air permit (plant cancelled)
  • Massachusetts Environmental Energy Alliance (MEEA) comments on Pioneer Renewable Energy facility in Greenfield, MA (plant cancelled)
  • MEEA comments on Palmer Renewable Energy facility (MA)
  • PFPI comments showing that emissions from proposed Domtar/We Energies biomass plant in Rothschild, WI, would significantly increase air pollution; company did not want to spend the money to install really effective emissions controls.
  • PFPI comments on Hu Honua biomass burner proposed in Pepe’ekeo, Hawaii – facility will be a significant source of pollution
  • PFPI comments on the 65 MW Adage plant proposed for Shelton, WA (plant cancelled)
  • PFPI comments on air permit for North Springfield Sustainable Energy biomass plant in Vermont
  • PFPI comments on air permit for North Star tire-wood burner in Wadley, GA
  • PFPI detailed factsheet on air pollution in Lithonia, GA, and how the proposed Green Energy Partners biomass plant will make it worse
  • Greenlaw comment on Green Energy Partners plant in Lithonia GA (PFPI contributed permit analysis)
  • Burning waste and construction and demolition debris emits toxics
  • Comments demonstrating that plans to “sort” construction and demolition waste for a biomass facility in Massachusetts are inadequate to achieve a “clean” fuel supply.
  • PFPI comments on Barton Renewable Energy Plant in Manchester, UK, which proposes to burn construction and demolition waste.
  • PFPI comments on why Niagara Generation’s petition to the New York State Public Service Commission to make adulterated wood burning eligible for the state’s RPS should be denied
  • The NY PSC’s denial of Niagara Generation’s petition
  • PFPI comments to the State of Massachusetts on why waste gasification is still incineration, and why the state should not lift the incinerator ban
  • PFPI report on Taylor Biomass gasification project in New York, highlighting contamination in the fuel supply and potential emissions
Comments on the federal MACT standards for biomass burners (EPA’s “boiler” and “waste” rules)
  • EPA page: Emissions Standards for Boilers and Process Heaters and Commercial / Industrial Solid Waste Incinerators (“Boiler rule”)
  • Massachusetts Environmental Energy Alliance comment to EPA on inadequacy of “waste rule” to achieve a “clean” biomass fuel stream
  • Massachusetts Environmental Energy Alliance comments demonstrating that plans to “sort” construction and demolition waste and remove contaminated wood are inadequate to achieve a “clean” fuel supply.
  • PFPI comments on Boiler and Waste Rules, July 2012 – detailed comments on why EPA’s rules aren’t protective
Biomass energy is not carbon neutral Collapse
Treating bioenergy as carbon neutral has serious consequences
Studies demonstrating that biomass energy is large source of greenhouse gases
Massachusetts takes biomass power out of the state’s RPS because it emits too much CO2
Comments on how uncounted emissions from bioenergy interfere with state-level greenhouse gas reduction goals
  • PFPI comments on NY climate action plan
  • PFPI comments on role of biomass in New Jersey’s energy plan
  • PFPI comments on role of biomass energy in Vermont
  • PFPI comments on why bioenergy carbon emissions should be counted in Connecticut Renewable Portfolio legislation
  • PFPI presentation on why biomass energy is incompatible with the Tennessee Valley Authority’s renewable energy plans
  • PFPI presentation on why ambitious plans for biopower in California will increase CO2 emissions
  • PFPI comments on why  waste gasification is incompatible with Massachusetts’ plans to reduce emissions
Threat from uncounted bioenergy emissions to Northeastern Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) goal of reducing CO2 emissions
Regulation of biogenic CO2 at the federal level Collapse
EPA’s deferral of counting biogenic carbon emissions was not justified
  • PFPI comments to EPA on why CO2 emitted by biomass plants should be regulated now
  • July 2013 United States Court of Appeals in DC decision against EPA, tells EPA to count bioenergy CO2 under the Clean Air Act
Responses to EPA’s requests for input about how biomass emissions should be counted
Biomass is not Best Available Control technology (BACT) for CO2
  • Booth/Sheehan comments showing that carbon emissions from proposed Domtar/We Energies biomass plant in Rothschild, WI, are far greater from biomass boiler than natural gas boiler.
National Environmental Policy Act assessments should evaluate bioenergy CO2 emissions
  • Comments on NEPA evaluation of Nippon Paper in WA
Biomass emissions mean that “reductions” in greenhouse gases under a federal Renewable Energy Standard exist only on paper
  • M. Booth’s report for Environmental Working Group: “Clearcut Disaster” details implications for forest cutting and carbon emissions from biomass under proposed federal renewable electricity standard
Financial and policy incentives for biomass energy Collapse
Research resources: funding available for bioenergy
  • USDOE: Database of state and federal incentives for renewables and efficiency (DSIRE)
  • Biomass Accountability Project: Report: Biomass Electricity: Clean Energy Subsidies for a Dirty Industry
  • PFPI whitepaper on subsidies for biomass power
Why federal funds for bioenergy are a mistake
  • PFPI report on how Taylor Biomass (NY biomass/waste gasifier) application for DOE loan guarantee understates emissions from facility, which should render the facility ineligible for federal funds.

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