Category Archives: insects

[NEWS] Arizona Studying Bioenergy for Wildfire Management

– by Anna Simet, August 23, 2017, Biomass Magazine

ForestLogsSmall_Biomass Magazine

Photo: Biomass Magazine

The Arizona Corporation Commission has ordered Arizona Public Service to evaluate forest bioenergy as part of its resource portfolio.

A May memorandum from Commissioner Boyd Dunn instructed the opening of a docket to explore forest bioenergy, and its current role and impact in Arizona. The memo emphasized the important role forest bioenergy serves in maintaining Arizona’s forests, woodlands, and watersheds while creating energy for the grid. “Our history is riddled with examples of the devastating economic, cultural, and ecological impact of Arizona wildfires,” it stated. “In addition, state watersheds, including streams, lakes and reservoirs are at risk of contamination from hazardous runoff coming from the burned areas. Maintaining healthy forests and woodlands through on-the-ground restoration activities reduces the risk and severity of these wildfires.”

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AUDIO for LIVE DEBATE: Can Removing Fuels for Biomass Energy Reduce Wildfire?

In August, The Biomass Monitor hosted a debate between Chad Hanson, Ph.D., Director and Principal Ecologist for John Muir Project of Earth Island Institute and David Atkins, former Forest Service ecologist and forester and current president of Treesource, over the effectiveness of cutting trees in backcountry forests to limit the spread and intensity of wildfire.

Subscribe to quarterly email issues of The Biomass Monitor to receive the recording in the fall issue. Subscribers can also contact thebiomassmonitor@gmail.com and we’ll get you the link right away.

 

[NEWS] Court Orders Owners of CO Biomass Facility to Pay $10 Million to Company That Built It

– by Randy Wyrick, June 5, 2017, Summit Daily

Eagle Valley Clean Energy chipsA federal court jury ruled Monday that the owners of Gypsum’s biomass plant failed to pay the company that built it.

Wellons, an Oregon company, won a $10.84 million verdict, handing biomass plant owner-operator Eagle Valley Clean Energy a defeat in a civil lawsuit that has slogged on for more than a year. The jury also left the door open for Wellons to ask for interest on that amount. Wellons attorney Steve Leatham said the company will probably seek approximately $7 million in interest.

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[NEWS] Bioenergy Industry Praises Trump’s Nominee for Agriculture Secretary

– by Erin Voegele, January 19, 2017, Ethanol Producer Magazine

perdue-ethanol-producer-mag

Former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue (Photo: Georgia Governor’s Office)

On Jan. 19, President-elect Donald Trump nominated former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue to lead the USDA. The nomination, which is subject to U.S. Senate confirmation, represents Trump’s final cabinet selection. Perdue served as Georgia governor from 2003 through 2011.

Members of the biofuels and bioenergy industries have spoken out in response to Perdue’s nomination, indicating they look forward to working with him to continue growing biofuel and bioenergy production.

The Biomass Power Association praised Perdue’s nomination. “Under Governor Perdue’s leadership, the state of Georgia embraced bioenergy in many forms, including biomass power,” said Bob Cleaves, president of Biomass Power Association. “The agriculture secretary plays an important role in overseeing forestry on federal lands. Biomass can help enhance forest health by providing a market for hazardous fuel removal.”

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[OPINION] Biomass Energy Facilities Can Worsen Air Pollution

[Read the opposing view to this opinion piece, “Biomass Facilities Play Important Role in Improving Air Quality,” by Bruce Springsteen, Placer County Air Pollution Control District]

– by Jana Ganion, Energy Director, Blue Lake Rancheria

“Particulate matter pollution” — air-borne particles (visible and invisible) that seep into our lungs and environment — is now a proven, dire health hazard, and an environmental harm accelerant.

We can compare the crescendo of information around the health hazards of particulate matter air pollution to the public’s awakening to — and acceptance of — the health hazards of cigarettes. In the case of tobacco, we proceeded from physicians recommending smoking, to understanding that it absolutely causes cancer.

The certainty regarding the dangers of particulate matter air pollution has reached the same point: there is no doubt it damages health — from worsening asthma, to heart and lung disease, to shortened lifespans, and death.

Just type “particulate matter health” in your favorite internet search engine and glance at recommendations from non-partisan, trusted agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control, the Mayo Clinic, the World Health Organization, the Environmental Protection Agency , State of New York, and many others.

In an interesting recent article from the Wall Street Journal, “Does Poor Air Quality Hurt Stock-Market Returns?”, economist researchers from both Columbia University and University of Ottawa found that on bad-air days in New York City, when 2.5 micron particulate matter (PM2.5, invisible particles most dangerous to human health) were at high levels, stock market prices went down by ~12%. It seems that when people can’t breathe well, they get “risk averse.”

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[OPINION] Biomass Facilities Play Important Role in Improving Air Quality

[Read the opposing view to this opinion piece, “Biomass Energy Facilities Can Worsen Air Pollution,” by Jana Ganion, Blue Lake Rancheria]

– by Bruce Springsteen, Compliance and Enforcement Manager, Placer County Air Pollution Control District

California biomass power plants provide an alternative to the open pile burning of woody forest and agricultural wastes as a means of disposal. By utilizing this significant renewable resource for clean and efficient power generation, biomass power plants avoid the significant air pollution from open pile burning and reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

Presently California’s 22 biomass power plants, with individual capacity ranging from 10-50 MW, produce 530 MW of renewable and reliable baseload (24/7) electricity. Much of the biomass fuel for these plants is woody waste that is the byproduct of the sustainable management of California’s highly productive: (1) fruit and nut orchards in the Central Valley, and (2) forested lands through the foothills and mountains.

Fruit and nut orchard wastes include annual tree prunings and periodic removal of over-mature trees. Forest wastes – small diameter tree stems, tops, limbs, branches, and brush – are the product of fuel hazard reduction, forest health and productivity improvements, and traditional commercial harvest. Of concern is the pending increase in forest waste supply as land managers accelerate the scale and pace of fuels treatments to reduce the risk of high severity wildfire and to return forests to fire-resilient conditions in response to tree mortality (Stevens 2016) and the overly dense fuel condition resulting from a century of successful wildfire suppression (North et al. 2015, Dombeck et al. 2004).

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