Posted by: James Maloy | July 7, 2010

Dead zone in gulf linked to ethanol production

(07-06) 04:00 PDT Washington — While the BP oil spill has been labeled the worst environmental catastrophe in recent U.S. history, a biofuel is contributing to a Gulf of Mexico “dead zone” the size of New Jersey that scientists say could be every bit as harmful to the gulf.

via Dead zone in gulf linked to ethanol production.



July 7, 2010
Contact: Meg Sheehan, Chair, Stop Spewing Carbon Campaign
tel. 508-259-9154
Massachusetts Anti-Biomass Ballot Question The Stop Spewing Carbon Ballot Campaign announced today a major victory in the fight against biomass incinerators promoted as “clean energy” and as a result will not put its question on the statewide ballot for November 2010.

“Today Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Ian Bowles issued a letter saying his agency will change our state laws to bring them in line with current science and public policy requiring biomass incinerators to meet strict standards for forest protection, greenhouse gas emissions, and efficiency,” said Meg Sheehan, Chair of the Stop Spewing Carbon Ballot Campaign. “This is a groundbreaking development that means an end to commercial biomass electric power plants in Massachusetts.

Science confirms that the greenhouse gas emissions of burning forests are worse than coal and there’s no reason to subsidize this form of energy,” Sheehan said. Secretary Bowles’ letter says that to meet greenhouse targets the state should change “the incentives we provide biomass energy under the Renewable Portfolio Standard.” The Stop Spewing Campaign collected over 120,000 signatures from Massachusetts’ voters to end biomass subsidies. Sheehan said, “this sent a clear message to Governor Patrick. Ending renewable energy credits for dirty incinerators was the central goal of our ballot question and we have won.”

The state also announced that construction and demolition debris incinerators will not get renewable energy credits, another victory for the Campaign. “Our coalition of social justice, public health, environmental, forestry advocates and fiscal watchdogs have won a victory for the citizens of Massachusetts, the nation, and indeed the planet,” Sheehan said. “Citizens have let government officials know they don’t want their taxpayer and ratepayer money spent on these toxic incinerators disguised as “clean energy.”

“We will continue to work to prevent air pollution impacts from potential smaller biomass projects and for a state wide ban on construction and demolition debris burning. We also intend to pressure the administration to tighten the biomass regulations even further than what was put forth today to prevent all destructive bio-energy schemes and false solutions to climate change. We will want to make sure that so called “clean energy” projects don’t pollute the air, the water, and destroy our forests,” said Sheehan.

P R E S S * R E L E A S E
Southern Environmental Law Center
July 7, 2010

Four Environmental Groups Seek To Defend Greenhouse Gas Rule in Court

Groups Support EPA Position To Count CO2 Emissions From Biomass In Large-Source Permitting


Cat McCue, Southern Environmental Law Center, 434-977-4090,
Stuart C. Ross, Clean Air Task Force, 914-649-5037,

WASHINGTON – Four environmental groups, representing citizens concerned about climate change and forest resources in New England and the Southeast, filed a joint motion in federal court late yesterday to help defend the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to count emissions from burning biomass when it begins regulating global warming pollution from large power plants and other large industrial facilities.  The agency’s decision also includes a commitment to continue a scientific evaluation of the true carbon impact of the many forms of biomass energy.

Burning woody materials, grasses and other biomass can be a significant component of the effort to achieve climate benefits by shifting America away from fossil fuels-but only if the biomass is sourced and accounted for properly-so that the carbon emitted when biomass is burned equals or is less than the carbon taken up by new plant growth.  Recent studies show that combusting some kinds of biomass as fuel can actually increase the amount of climate change pollutants.  For example, burning whole trees in mature forests is much less likely to be carbon-neutral than combusting undergrowth and trimmings from plantation stands.

Last month, EPA issued what is commonly called the “tailoring” rule, which establishes the agency’s framework for evaluating and limiting carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in Clean Air Act permits for large stationary sources. The agency declined to give all biomass combustion greenhouse gas emissions a blanket exemption from complying with the Act, as was sought by the forest products industry and others.  The environmental groups’ filing supports EPA’s decision to reject the idea that all biomass is inherently “carbon-neutral.”  This careful approach avoids making the climate problem worse in the short term and allows for additional study.

The rule is being challenged by industry interests and several members of Congress in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals (Southeastern Legal Foundation, et al. v. US EPA).  Late yesterday, Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) and Clean Air Task Force (CATF) attorneys filed a motion to intervene in defense of this aspect of EPA’s rule on behalf of Georgia ForestWatch and Wild Virginia, represented by SELC, and  the Conservation Law Foundation and the Natural Resources Council of Maine, represented by CATF.

>> Click here for the groups’ motion to intervene (pdf)

“The South is already considered the ‘fiber basket’ of the country, with much of our land producing paper and other forest products. While generating some of our energy from biomass will help the South’s rural economies and help shift to cleaner energy, we should look before we leap.  In particular, we must ensure a regulatory system that sustains the clean water, the wildlife habitat, the carbon-capturing capacity and the other benefits we get from healthy forests,” said Frank Rambo, Senior Attorney with the SELC, who represents Georgia ForestWatch and Wild Virginia.

Peyton Coyner, a Nelson County resident and member of Wild Virginia who submitted an affidavit on the motion to intervene, said: “I’ve hiked and camped in the national forests of Virginia for over a half century, and I’ve seen the changes – fewer brook trout, hazier views, more invasive plants and insects – which I think are at least partly due to a warming climate. But if we move too hastily on using biomass as a major source of energy, we might end up destroying our forests altogether, so it’s important that when it’s done, it’s done right.” (The media may contact Mr. Coyner for interviews at 434-361-1442.)

“The Environmental Protection Agency is doing the right thing monitoring and regulating the carbon dioxide emissions from biomass incinerators,” said Nathan Van Hoosier, President of Wild Virginia.  “The public needs to know upfront how these incinerators will affect Virginia’s air quality, streams, climate and forests.”

“It is obviously of utmost importance that in trying to fix the climate problem, EPA should not take steps that actually make it worse,” said Ann Weeks, Senior Counsel for CATF, and the attorney for Conservation Law Foundation and Natural Resources Council of Maine.  “EPA did not bend to pressure from industry to create incentives to burn more biomass for energy generation, which can potentially be more harmful for climate than the fossil fuel it replaces.”    We have a strong interest making that decision stick, by defending this aspect of the rule, at least until the science on biomass emissions allows a more comprehensive understanding of the various direct and indirect impacts that bioenergy has on climate.”

# # #

The Southern Environmental Law Center is a regional nonprofit using the power of the law to protect the health and environment of the Southeast (Virginia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama). Founded in 1986, SELC’s team of 40 legal experts represent more than 100 partner groups on issues of climate change and energy, air and water quality, forests, the coast and wetlands, transportation, and land use.

Clean Air Task Force is a nonprofit organization founded in 1996 dedicated to reducing atmospheric pollution through research, advocacy and private sector collaboration. For more information, please visit us at

Posted by: James Maloy | July 3, 2010

BIOMASS INCINERATORS – Separating Fact from Fiction

By Dr. Tom Termotto

Shall we begin by stating that biomass incinerators are rarely, if ever, factually represented by the many sales pitches we see issued by the Energy Industry sector that promotes them. In fact, the marketing language that has now become de rigueur is reminiscent of George Orwell’s 1984. “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.”

To the point, biomass incineration is NOT clean and green, sustainable and renewable, carbon neutral and cost effective, or environmentally friendly and ecologically sound. It is quite the opposite of these beautiful and alluring marketing slogans. Biomass incineration is in reality quite polluting, unsustainable to the extreme and, in some cases, less environmentally friendly than coal burning plants.

Remember the old-fashioned hospital incinerator that nobody ever wanted to live downwind from. Who would want mercury vapors, and the many other highly toxic aerosols, wafting through their neighborhood? Well, then, why would a community want a biomass incinerator sited within winds’ reach of their schools, subdivisions and businesses. The post incineration output of these biomass plants can be much worse than a hospital’s depending on what is being incinerated.

Let’s not forget the golden rule of energy production: “Garbage in; garbage out”. Ultimately the permitting process for these incinerators often allows for the burning of various types of refuse and other feedstocks, which will necessarily degrade air quality. A close look at any state air permit application for these biomass plants will reveal the mix of carcinogens, toxins, pollutants, contaminants and poisons that is really quite alarming.

As we have evaluated the emission estimates of various pollutants, which have been submitted by the very biomass companies themselves, we wonder how they make the leap across the chasm to such environmentally attractive sound bites. Let’s be clear about the assortment and type of contaminants which will inevitably show up in the surrounding air of these biomass plants. As follows:
(1) Dioxins and Furans (2) Particulate Matter – 10.0, 2.5 and 1.0 microns (3) Hydrogen Chloride (4) Nitrogen Dioxide (5) Carbon Monoxide (6) Hydrogen Sulfide (7) Sulfur Dioxide (8) Sulfuric Acid (H2SO4) (9) Mercury, Lead and Arsenic (10) Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) such as benzene, toluene and naphthalene

One can only imagine the harmful effects to human and animal life that these pollutants will cause in those unfortunate cities and counties that have succumbed to the governmental and energy industry forces, which routinely foist these schemes on an uninformed public. What follows is a quote from the Healthcare Professionals For Clean Environment in their letter to Governor Charlie Crist of Florida regarding a proposed biomass incinerator for Gadsden County, FL.

“As you know full well, biomass incinerators of this type will produce extraordinary amounts of air pollution to include dioxin, one of the most toxic and carcinogenic organic chemicals released into the environment by industry. In addition, this incinerator will be 0.3 tons (according to the ADAGE permit application submitted to DEP) shy of being a major source of a particular hazardous air pollutant (hydrogen chloride) according to the FL DEP’s own regulatory guidance concerning the 10 ton threshold for any single air pollutant. This incinerator will also significantly contribute to the total particulate matter volume which already plagues much of North Florida. We are compelled to point out that particulate matter (PM) concentration directly correlates with a whole host of upper respiratory ailments to include sinusitis, rhinitis, pharyngitis, laryngitis, as well as the common cold. More serious respiratory diseases such as lung cancer, emphysema, pneumonia, tuberculosis, pulmonary edema, sarcoidosis, pleurisy and adult respiratory distress syndrome are all greatly aggravated by the various pollutants emitted from biomass plants. Chronic respiratory conditions such as COPD, CREST, asthma, bronchitis, reactive airway disease, as well as numerous inhalant allergies will likewise see an increase wherever these irritants exist above certain thresholds. Likewise, illnesses such as influenza and its many seasonal variants will always be exacerbated when the ambient air is fouled by these particulates and chemical emissions.”

The profound medical repercussions and health impacts of this form of incineration and crude energy production cannot be understated. Medical organizations from around the country have been weighing in on this matter for as long as biomass marketeers have been submitting their sales literature to the many small, economically depressed communities that are vulnerable to such ill-conceived proposals. The twenty to thirty long-term jobs, which are created by these biomass propositions, will be taken by many who will inevitably experience dangerous levels of exposure to the aforementioned chemicals. Therefore, they will suffer adverse health conditions, which will then contribute to the local medical burden, as well as significantly increase the healthcare costs associated with lifelong remediation.

In an age when the nation is moving toward more enlightened energy platforms concerning production, dissemination and utilization, it is quite anachronistic that some would have us go back to the Stone Age. Burning trees and the like is, after all, what was done before there was solar, wind, oil and gas, coal, nuclear, and hydroelectric power. Why in the world, with a global population approaching 7 billion, would we want to go back to energy sources that are as primitive as they are downright dirty?!

Dr. Tom Termotto, BCIM
Member – Floridians Against Incinerators in Disguise

Neil Seldman

President Neil Seldman of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance will be here on April 29th to discuss opportunities for small business start up, new green jobs and an expanded local tax base.  Seldman is coming at the invitation of the Concerned Citizens of Gadsden County, Inc.  The evening meeting (6 to 8 p.m.) will take place at the Multipurpose Center of the New Bethel AME Church located at 23209 Blue Star Hwy across from the hospital in Quincy, Florida.

Seldman is a national and international expert in resource management, working with citizen groups and small business groups interested in expanding recycling and composting as an alternative to incineration and landfilling of garbage.  The Concerned Citizens of Gadsden County believe that that the information promoted by ILSR furthers our mission “to promote sustainable, self-reliant economic development for Gadsden County, Florida, that preserves residents’ quality of life, environment, and natural resources; and to oppose economic development that is contrary to these principles.”
The Institute for Local Self Reliance, based in Washington, DC, is a 35-year-old non-profit research and technical assistance organization focusing on the use of energy, agriculture, waste and retail policies that support sustainable local economic development.  Details of ILSR’s work may be found at on the Internet.
Neil Seldman works on enterprise start up, financing and joint ventures between industry, community development groups and government agencies.  He has worked for many cities and counties including Washington, DC, Los Angeles, Grand Forks, ND, Austin, TX, King County, WA, Hawaii County, HI, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico; as well as numerous community development organizations and federal agencies.  Most recently he has been working in Florida for the counties of St. Lucie and Alachua.
In Alachua County, Mr. Seldman is assisting with the development of a 40-acre Resource Recovery Park for recycling and composting.  The project will create an estimated 200 direct jobs and help Alachua County meet a 75% diversion goal being considered by the Florida DEP and the Florida State Legislature.

All interested persons are encouraged to attend a Seldman workshop.  All meeting are free and open to the public.  For additional information please contact Concerned Citizens of Gadsden County, Inc. at or 850-583-1017.

(Download the letter here)

March 19, 2010

Via Electronic Mail and U.S. Mail

Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Bureau of Air Regulation, Division of Air Resource Management
2600 Blair Stone Road, M.S. 5500
Tallahassee, FL 32399-2400

Attention: Mr. Alvaro Linero, Director of Special Projects

RE:  Application for ADAGE Gadsden LLC – Air Construction Permit Proposed
Nominal 55.5 MW Net Woody Biomass Electric Power Plant Gadsden
County, Florida, Project No. 0390046-001-AC

Dear Mr. Linero:

ADAGE Gadsden LLC (ADAGE) submitted an application (the Application) for
an air construction permit to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau
of Air Regulation, Division of Air Resource Management (Bureau) dated January 27,
2010 for the construction of a proposed nominal 55.5 MW Net Woody Biomass Electric
Power Plant to be located in the City of Gretna, Gadsden County, Florida.  ADAGE
hereby withdraws the Application and requests that the Bureau cease any further
consideration of, or activity upon, the Application.

Thank you for your assistance and understanding in this matter.  If you have any
questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Very truly yours,

F. Reed Wills

cc: Ms. Trina Vielhauer, Chief – Bureau of Air Regulation
(trina.vielhauer@dep.state.fl .us)
Mr. David Read, Engineering Specialist II (

March 16, 2010
Contact: Antonio Jefferson

Termination of Consideration of Adage Biomass Project

Gretna, Florida — Mayor Anthony Baker of the City of Gretna announced today that in light of Adage, LLC’s decision to suspend activity on its proposed Bioenergy facility slated for construction in Gretna (as well as suspension of its application for an air permit through the Florida Department of Environmental Protection) that the City now considers this matter closed and will take no further action on Adage’s request to locate this facility in Gretna.

Inasmuch as the Bioenergy Plant could neither legally operate nor be sited in Gretna without an air permit, the City concluded that this was no longer a viable project and Adage’s decision to suspend activity on its air permit indicated that further consideration of the project by the City was unwarranted. Since there were no issues pending before the City of Gretna requiring action by its Commission relative to the Plant, the Mayor deemed termination of the project as final disposition of this matter as far as the City is concerned.

Download the press release.

Posted by: James Maloy | March 15, 2010

ADAGE Will Suspend Work on Biopower Project in Gadsden County

Press Contacts:
Tom DePonty
Tel: (301) 841-2468
Jarret Adams
Tel: (301) 841-1695
ADAGE Will Suspend Work on Biopower Project in Gadsden County
March 15, 2010; Gretna, FL – ADAGE LLC, a biopower joint venture owned by affiliates of Duke Energy and AREVA, said in a statement today that it will suspend work on the proposed biopower project in Gadsden County.  ADAGE had proposed to construct a 55 megawatt advanced biopower facility in Gretna, Florida, utilizing sustainable clean woody biomass.
“The vibrant forest resources in Northern Florida attracted ADAGE to the area and the State of Florida confirmed our decision in the recent Woody Biomass Economic Study released on March 1, 2010.  We believe that Gadsden County represents a good market for development of sustainable woody biomass projects, however in light of the decision today by the City of Gretna to delay consideration of the project, ADAGE will suspend work on the Gadsden County project and focus on continuing to develop a fleet of clean, safe, reliable biopower projects throughout the U.S.”
“ADAGE respects the decision of the City of Gretna to continue to study the project and we recognize that work still needs to be done in the local community to fully implement the master plan for economic development.  However, ADAGE firmly believes that further study will reinforce that the project would represent a safe, sustainable renewable energy solution that meets all local, State and National standards while delivering new jobs and economic opportunity.”
“ADAGE will ask the Florida Department of Environmental Quality to suspend activity on the Air Resource Permit Application for the Gadsden County project.  ADAGE continues to actively develop its project in Hamilton County, Florida which has already received full approval at the State and local level.”

March 15, 2010

City Defers Consideration of the Adage Biomass Project
(Download the press release)

Gretna, Florida — Mayor Anthony Baker of the City of Gretna has decided to defer any decision on the Adage Biomass Project for a period of six months to enable the City to study this matter in greater detail.

Since the December 9, 2010 announcement of Gretna, Florida as the site for construction of Adage, LLC’s second Bioenergy Plant in the State of Florida, the City Commission and City staff have been consulting with industry experts, federal and state regulators and legislators, economic and health experts concerning the viability and sustainability of biomass as a means of producing electricity in Florida.
Read More…

Press Release, March 13, 2010
Contact Brack Barker, Conservation Chair, phone # 352-215-4396

The Suwannee/St Johns Sierra Group, which represents 14 counties in North Central Florida including Alachua county, has voted to oppose the GRU/GREC Biomass plant * A new power plant is not needed; GRU currently has 62% overcapacity * Competition for increasingly scarce biomass fuel will be too expensive and a burden on the ratepayers * We reject more massive air pollution and major water withdrawals * The City of Gainesville needs to expand their energy efficiency programs and aggressively help customers reduce energy consumption. This will create many new jobs that will benefity the community and region. For these reasons the Suwannee/St.John’s group opposes a new power plant.

Brack Barker Suwannee/St Johns Sierra Group Conservation Chair

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