PFPI's scientific analysis and reports drive policy change.
From data-driven debunking of industry myths to cutting edge analysis of critical policy issues, PFPI research publications have shaped debates and empowered communities on the ground to take the fight against polluting corporations and complicit governments.
Using government data, this report reveals that the EU is losing its forest and land carbon sinks at an alarming rate, and increased logging of forests for biomass fuel used to meet renewable energy targets is a major reason why. The report contains recommendations for reforming EU’s biomass policies in the Renewable Energy Directive.
Despite claims to only use sawdust and waste wood, the biomass industry has wreaked havoc on European forests. Released by the Forest Defenders Alliance, this report includes photos of more than 40 biomass and pellet plants across Europe that appear to be utilizing trees logged directly from forests for fuel and feedstock.
Read the report here.
An analysis of the modeling underpinning key EU climate legislation finds that EU’s plan for achieving “climate neutrality” by 2050 relies heavily on biomass energy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS), a technology that effectively does not exist and that may never deliver negative emissions. Read the report here.
Provides a detailed explanation of why the EU’s protections fall far short of what is needed to deliver on the promise of biomass that “reduces” GHG emissions and avoids impacts to forests. Tackling the intertwined crises of climate change and biodiversity will require top-to-bottom reform on the use of forest biomass.
Read the report here.
With mapping and data analysis from FracTracker Alliance, pinpoints Eastern Ohio gas wells that have been injected with undisclosed fracking chemicals, highlighting community health risks and showing how state laws have allowed drilling companies to hide information from citizens. Read the report here.
Formal petition asking US SEC for a rulemaking to regulate the claims companies are allowed to make about biogenic climate benefits, accompanied by memo from ESG investment group As You Sow. Read the petition here.
Analyzes the fate of 25 biomass power plants across the U.S. that received at least $10 million dollars in federal stimulus funding between 2009 and 2014, finding cost overruns, air and water violations, plant malfunctions, early closures, lawsuits, and inflated costs for taxpayers and ratepayers. Read the report here.
Analyzes secret fracking chemical use in over 2,500 of Pennsylvania’s unconventional gas wells. Reports on the EPA’s lax oversight of chemicals with known health risks, and calls for prohibition of fracking in the Delaware River Basin and near other drinking water sources. Read the report here.
Accompanied by a video abstract, this peer-reviewed article by Dr. Mary Booth published in Environmental Research Letters assesses net CO2 emissions from forestry residues, which are often considered to have zero net greenhouse gas emissions. The paper explodes this fallacy by demonstrating that even when power plants burn true wood residues and exclude whole trees specifically cut for fuel, net emissions are still significant.
Micro report analyzing EPA data on fine particulate emissions (PM2.5 ) found that Massachusetts has more air pollution from wood combustion than any other state in New England.
Environmental Working Group
Demonstrates that emissions reductions promised under the Waxman Markey bill consisted largely of replacing coal with wood and not counting the emissions. This work was supported by the Environmental Working Group, prior to PFPI’s founding. Read the report here.
Discloses how the EPA regularly approved new chemicals for drilling and fracking, despite the EPA itself documenting health concerns like irritation to skin and lungs, kidney and liver toxicity, developmental toxicity and neurotoxicity. Read the report here.
Report to US SEC on misleading claims and failure to disclose material information by US-based Enviva, the biggest wood pellet company in the world. Read the report here.
Documents that biomass burners at schools and businesses are as polluting as industrial facilities, while receiving over $69 million in public subsidies; accompanied by a map and database of facilities. Read the report here.
Describes loopholes in federal policy that exempt biomass plants from regulation, and synthesizes data from 88 air pollution permits for biomass power plants in 25 states, concluding that biomass power plants across the country are permitted to emit more pollution than comparably sized coal plants or commercial waste incinerators. Read the report here.
Report to US SEC on bioenergy greenwashing by US companies Dominion, Covanta, and Southern Co. Read the report here.
PFPI reviewed 3,000 pages of previously undisclosed documents from the U.S. Department of Energy and found that a proposed “green” waste gasification project in Montgomery New York would have air pollution limits no better than a garbage incinerator. The owners had applied for $100 million in taxpayer-backed loan guarantees and $33 million in federal cash grants. The plant has still not been built. We collaborated on this report with Laura Haight, who was then the senior environmental advocate at NYPIRG. We were lucky to be able to hire Laura as our US Policy Director a few years later. Read the report here.
Covers PA policies on biomass energy and surveys then-current and proposed facilities in the state. Read the report here.
June 2010, Environmental Working Group
Demonstrates that emissions reductions promised under the Waxman Markey bill consisted largely of replacing coal with wood and not counting the emissions. Mary Booth and Richard Wiles co-authored this report published by the Environmental Working Group prior to founding PFPI.