Send The Biomass Monitor to Arizona!

Tonto National Forest, Arizona (

Will you make a tax-deductible donation to support The Biomass Monitor’s next investigative report?

Novo BioPower (formerly Snowflake White Mountain) is a 27-megawatt biomass power facility in Snowflake, Arizona located about 180 miles northeast of Phoenix, and the only one in Arizona.

Opened in 2008, the facility generates baseline power for 20,000 homes and employs 36 workers. It’s fueled primarily by small trees, tree tops, limbs, and logging byproducts from nearby National Forests, as well as from sawmills, collection yards, and orchard trimmings.

A portion of its fuel is sourced from the Four Forest Restoration Initiative (4FRI), a collaboration between federal and state land managers, the forest products industry, and some conservationists to conduct forest restoration, wildfire fuel reduction, and commercial logging in the Coconino, Kaibab, Apache-Sitgreaves, and Tonto National Forests in Arizona.

Launched in 2011, the largest restoration undertaking in the country—targeting 1 million acres over 20 years—4FRI intends to provide lumber, furniture, soil amendments, and bioenergy.

Since its inception, 4FRI has been critiqued from all sides.

The forest products industry has been frustrated with the slow pace of logging. Despite $84 million in federal funds, thus far only 80,000 acres have been thinned.

Conservationists participating in the collaborative are uneasy because of limited protection for old-growth trees. Meanwhile, other environmentalists have opposed the project from the beginning, pointing out ecological impacts and questioning the efficacy of wildfire prevention through logging.

A partnership between Concord Blue and Good Earth was originally slated to turn trees and woody residue from 4FRI logging into jet fuel, a process that has yet to be achieved on a commercial scale.

Instead, Concord Blue has just broken ground on a biomass gasification project that would convert wood into a combustible syngas to generate 1 megawatt of power.

More than just of local interest, the story of 4FRI, Novo BioPower, and biomass energy in Arizona is of national importance.

The majority of new biomass power facilities in the western U.S. are being built near National Forests in order to make use of wood from wildfire fuel reduction. In many cases, this logging would not be undertaken without a destination for the wood. How things play out for biomass in Arizona may very well be a litmus test for the rest of the country.

Unlike most media outlets, The Biomass Monitor is uniquely equipped to get to the heart of this far-reaching story. With a command of the best available science and knowledge of the many players on all sides of the issue, we promise to get you the real, balanced scoop.

All that’s missing is the funding. And that’s where you come in.

For a tax-deductible donation of $25, $50 or $100, you can help The Biomass Monitor raise the $1,500 needed to make this in-depth, feature length article come to life, including the ten hour drive from Denver, Colorado to visit the Novo BioPower facility, interviewing several key players, touring and photographing forests both before and after 4FRI logging, room and board for three days, and then writing, editing, publishing, and distributing the article.

If you’re tired of biased and superficial mainstream media and want to support independent, investigative journalism, here is your opportunity to get to the bottom of this story by making a tax-deductible donation to The Biomass Monitor.


Josh Schlossberg

Editor, The Biomass Monitor 

[NEWS] Kentucky Biodiesel Leak Suffocates Thousands of Fish

– by Trey Crumbie, December 1, 2016, Lexington Herald Leader


Little Eagle Creek (Trey Crumbie)

Thousands of fish have been killed by 3,000 gallons of biodiesel that leaked into a river from a truck stop in Kentucky, US.

The diesel leaked into Little Eagle Creek near Sadieville in early to mid-November from a branch of the national Love’s Travel Stop chain of truck stops.

Jack Donovan, director of the Georgetown/Scott County Emergency Management Agency, told Lexington Herald Leader that the agency receive a notification of the leak on 18 November, but some locals said they had noticed the leak up to two week prior.

The cleanup of the leak, the exactly source of which has not bee determined, is in progress and will take a “long time”.

Read more

[NEWS] Senate Grapples With Failures of Renewable Fuel Standard

– by Chris Fry, December 2, 2016, Courthouse News


Graphic: Alternative Fuels Data Center

Government officials testified before the Senate on Thursday that sluggish development of ethanol and other biofuels has hampered attainment of the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Enacted in 2005, the Renewable Fuel Standard or RSF requires that all transportation fuel sold in the United States contain a minimum amount of renewable fuels.

The Senate Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management called a hearing Thursday afternoon to look at two new reports from the Government Accountability Office on the standard’s feasibility.

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[NEWS] Is Burning Wood CO2 Neutral?

– by Willem Post, November 30, 2016, Energy Collective


Photo: Energy Collective

The EU and US have declared, “Burning wood is CO2-neutral”. East Europe and the US Southeast still have significant areas with forests. Starting about 2005, major parts of these forests have been harvested by means of clear-cutting. In 2016, about 6.5 million metric ton of wood pellets will be shipped from the US Southeast to Europe for co-firing in coal-fired power plants. The EU authorities in Brussels have declared these coal plants in compliance with EU CO2/kWh standards, because biomass is renewable and the CO2 of wood burning is not counted.

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[NEWS] Dead Trees Mean New Life for Fresno, California Biomass Facility

– by Marc Benjamin, November 28, 2016, Fresno Bee


Photo: John Walker / Fresno Bee

Dead trees will continue being turned into electricity near Fresno for another five years after a biomass plant in Malaga got a contract to supply Southern California Edison.

The contract ends concerns that the facility, which employs 25 workers and has a $3.5 million annual payroll, could close soon. The plant’s contract was extended twice this year because of dead trees cut down in the Sierra.

The 24-megawatt plant was supposed to close Dec. 31 without a new contract. Utilities no longer were going to pay for electricity generation from biomass plants because the fixed price that supported the plants was expiring.

Biomass plants in Delano, Mendota, Dinuba, Terra Bella and Firebaugh have closed in recent years because of expired power purchasing agreements.

READ MORE at Fresno Bee

[NEWS] California Biomass Facility Says Tribe Trying to Derail Clean Air Act Lawsuit

– by Christine Powell, November 9, 2016, Law 360


Blue Lake Power (Shaun Walker)

Blue Lake Power LLC told a federal court on Tuesday that the Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe was attempting to derail and complicate a lawsuit by the federal government and an air quality district that accuses the company of violating the Clean Air Act at a California biomass-fired electricity plant.

The tribe has filed an intervenor complaint in the dispute, which was brought by the federal government and the North Coast Unified Air Quality Management District against BLP in February, seeking injunctive relief and civil penalties for alleged CAA violations at the plant.

But BLP argued that the tribe disregarded the court’s order allowing it to intervene in the case — an order that limited the claims the tribe could bring to those that paralleled the ones asserted by the agencies — by including in its intervenor complaint a request for a temporary restraining order.

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[NEWS] EPA Issues Final Renewable Fuel Standard Volumes for Ethanol

– November 26, 2016, Farm and Dairy


Photo: Farm and Dairy

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has finalized the increases in renewable fuel volume requirements across all categories of biofuels under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.

In a required annual rulemaking, the Nov. 23 action finalizes the volume requirements and associated percentage standards for cellulosic biofuel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel for 2017, and for biomass-based diesel for 2018.

“Renewable fuel volumes continue to increase across the board compared to 2016 levels,” said Janet McCabe, the agency’s acting assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation. “These final standards will boost production, providing for ambitious yet achievable growth of biofuels in the transportation sector.”

READ MORE at Farm and Dairy

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