Support A Full Spectrum View of Bioenergy

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If you’re reading this, knowing what’s going on in the bioenergy world is important to you.

Whether you’re in the industry, an environmental or public health advocate, a journalist, a student, a government agency staffer, an elected official, or just bio-curious, you count on The Biomass Monitor to give you the nation’s most comprehensive look at this popular and controversial energy source.

There are a lot of sources of information for bioenergy these days, but very few of them cover the whole spectrum of views. While some media outlets might attempt this, they often fail due to a limited understanding of the science and oversimplification of the debate.

How much do you value The Biomass Monitor, the one publication out there offering you all sides of the story on biomass and biofuels? Enough that you’re willing to support our work to make sure it continues?

Here’s a little reminder of what we’ve been up to for the last seven years:

  • Every month, The Biomass Monitor puts out meticulously-researched, balanced, and high quality investigative journalism focused on the number one form of “renewable” energy in the U.S., bioenergy.
  • Our articles regularly appear in widely-read national publications including Truthout, Earth Island Journal, EcoWatch, Alternet, and Counterpunch, as well as popular local media outlets, such as the Boulder Weekly (100,000+ readers) and the Glendale-Cherry Creek Chronicle (the largest mailed print publication in Denver, Colorado).
  • We’re now publishing point-counterpoint opinion pieces in each monthly issue, where biomass supporters and critics alike discuss important issues relevant to bioenergy, like climate change, public health, and forests.
  • On a daily basis, we monitor, filter, and distribute the latest bioenergy news from around the nation via our blog, Facebook, and Twitter. Our feed is one-stop shopping for anyone who wants to be kept in the loop on the latest bioenergy proposals, science, and politics.
  • We host free, monthly conference calls featuring experts speaking on various aspects of bioenergy.
  • We’re constantly contacting journalists across the nation writing on bioenergy and offering them a list of the most relevant contacts in the bioenergy field (industry groups, opponents, scientists, and everyone in between) to encourage balanced and informed media coverage.
  • We curate an extensive list of peer-reviewed scientific studies and reports relevant to bioenergy.

With everything that The Biomass Monitor delivers, surely you can agree that no other publication in the U.S. even comes close to what we’re doing. And, that with topics such as climate change, renewable energy, public health, and the environment becoming more and more crucial, we’re an important feature in today’s media landscape.

But none of this can keep happening without sustainable funding. And that’s why we’re contacting you today.

If you value the unique work of The Biomass Monitor—and are concerned about what its absence would mean when it comes to informing the public about one half of all “renewable” energy—please consider offering your financial support today.

Whether it’s $15, $35, $100 or more, your tax-deductible gift goes a long way towards ensuring that the American public stays abreast of the issues of biomass power and heating, ethanol and liquid biofuels, and trash and waste incineration.

Thanks for your consideration and ongoing readership.

Sincerely,

Josh Schlossberg, Editor-in-Chief (Denver, Colorado)
Samantha Chirillo, Associate Editor (Eugene, Oregon)

Editorial Board:
Mike Ewall, Attorney (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
Roy Keene, Forester (Eugene, Oregon)
Dr. Brian Moench, Physician (Salt Lake City, Utah)
Jon Rhodes, Hydrologist (Portland, Oregon)
George Wuerthner, Ecologist (Bozeman, Montana)

[NEWS] California Seeks Way to Solve Biomass Problem

– by Christine Souza, August 26, 2016, AgAlert

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Photo: Cecilia Parsons

Across California, tens of millions of trees are dead, intense wildfires burn, and orchard and forest waste piles up, as more plants that convert wood waste into electricity close due to expiring contracts with utility companies.

“Nothing has been done to adjust the utility rates at the California Public Utilities Commission to account for the value that biomass has; they are not keeping track of all of the avoided pollution that it affords,” said Allan Krauter, senior administrative analyst for Kern County. “Unless and until the state is willing to make up the difference between the market price and the break-even price, they are going to continue to have a big biomass problem.”

The problem centers on 25- and 30-year contracts between biomass plants and utility companies, established in the 1980s, resulting in the construction of 66 power plants with an operating capacity of almost 1,000 megawatts. Now, only 22 biomass plants remain operating, with a total capacity of 532 MW—still enough to convert 7.3 million tons of wood waste into electricity.

Read more

[NEWS] Maine Trees Could Fuel Military Jets

– by Christopher Burns, August 20, 2016, Bangor Daily News

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(Cartoon: George Danby)

For the last decade, there has been a concerted push in the U.S. to replace petroleum-based fuel with plant-based biofuels in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the nation’s reliance on foreign oil.

The alternative fuel revolution has so far belonged to corn, but efforts to develop a wood-based biofuel, particularly jet fuel, from Maine’s abundant timberland got a boost last month when the U.S. Department of Defense announced a $3.3 million investment into ongoing research at the University of Maine. This infusion comes as part of federal measures to help Maine’s flagging economy after a spate of mill closures.

This new investment from the federal government can potentially give the university’s Forest Bioproducts Research Institute the support it needs to “scale up” the production of biofuel for demonstration purposes to test it for commercial use, according to Jake Ward, the university’s vice president of innovation and economic development.

Read more

[NEWS] Indiana Cement Plant Loses Appeal to Burn Hazardous Waste

– by Madeleine Winer, August 18, 2016, Courier Journal

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Essroc Cement Plant (Matt Stone/Courier Journal)

The cement plant in southern Indiana that wants to burn hazardous waste for fuel will have to apply for rezoning.

After a more than three-hour hearing, the Clark County Board of Zoning Appeals decided to uphold a letter written by the president of the plan commission and acting executive director that deemed an earlier decision to allow the Essroc to burn alternative fuel as void.

“I’m disappointed in the decision,” said Jeremy Black, manager at Essroc’s plant in Speed, Indiana, “but I’m confident that we’ve got other means to obtain the required authorization to continue with the project.”

Read more

[NEWS] Will New Biofuels Help Decarbonize Aviation and Shipping?

Will New Biofuels Help Decarbonize Aviation and Shipping?

– by Kent Harrington, August 17, 2016, Chenected

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(Photo: Chenected)

It’s all hands on deck for the monumental task of decarbonizing the world energy system, and some speculate that may take a decade shy of the next century before it’s complete, if ever. It turns out that reining in emissions from stationary energy facilities, like coal or gas-powered plants, will be easy compared to curbing emissions from moving targets like aviation and shipping, which is starting to look nearly impossible.

A new video makes the problem clear: Every day 100,000 airline flights take off and land at airports across the world (watch the video above). Constantly moving air traffic means that no single person or group can manage the flow surging around the globe with the velocity of a plot from a Jason Bourne movie, floating over time zones, leaping national borders, and skating past regulatory and legal jurisdictions.

Read more

[NEWS] EPA Watchdog Says Government Fails to Study Ethanol’s Impact

– by Associated Press, August 18, 2016, ABC News

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Corn ethanol (Charlie Riedel/AP)

The Obama administration has failed to study as legally required the impact of requiring ethanol in gasoline and ensuring that new regulations intended to address one problem do not actually make other problems worse, the Environmental Protection Agency inspector general said Thursday.

The conclusion in the new audit confirmed findings of an Associated Press investigation in November 2013. The AP said the administration never conducted studies to determine whether air and water quality benefits from adding corn-based ethanol to gasoline. Such reports to Congress were required every three years under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

The AP investigation described the ethanol era as far more damaging to the environment than the government predicted. As farmers rushed to find new places to plant corn, they wiped out millions of acres of conservation land, polluted water supplies and destroyed habitat.

The EPA agreed with the inspector general’s findings that it had failed to produce studies as legally required. It said it will produce the first report — on the impacts of biofuels — by December 2017, and investigate whether ethanol requirements made other environmental problems worse by September 2024. That will be 17 years after Congress passed a law requiring oil companies to blend billions of gallons of ethanol into their gasoline.

READ MORE at ABC News

[NEWS] New Biomass Proposal for Burney, CA After Existing Facility Announces Shut Down

– by Nathan Solis, August 17, 2016, Redding Record Searchlight

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Burney, California

Shasta County Planning Commissioners gave the owner of Hat Creek Construction the go-ahead to build a new biomass facility in Burney. The approval comes just as another facility in Burney issued a 60 days’ notice to its employees that it would be closing its doors.

The proposed 9-acre facility given the go-ahead by commissioners at a special meeting on Thursday would sit on an 85-acre property owned by TLT Enterprise, Inc. listed under Perry Thompson, owner of Hat Creek Construction.

Thompson is also the nephew of Shasta County Supervisor Pam Giacomini.

The biomass plant would convert wood chips into energy and the authors of the application intend to sell that energy to Pacific Gas & Electric under the mandate of Senate Bill 1122, a 2012 law that requires corporations to gather a certain amount of bioenergy megawatts statewide.

Read more

[NEWS] Baker City, Oregon to Discuss Biomass Opportunities

– August 17, 2016, My Eastern Oregon

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Baker City, Oregon

A meeting has been arranged by Economic Development Director Greg Smith with PGE for next week in order for Baker County Commissioners as well as Baker City Representatives to discuss the opportunity to utilize Baker County bio mass in their generation for electricity.

According to Commissioner Mark Bennett with the recent fires and the upcoming “Face of the Elkhorns Project” Baker County is well situated to provide a significant source for the green power requirements of PGE.

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