Category Archives: politics

[FEATURE] Out of the Fryingpan and Into the Fire: Debate Heats Up Over Clear-cutting in White River National Forest

– by Josh Schlossberg, March 8, 2017, Boulder Weekly

Conservationists are challenging a logging proposal that would clear-cut 1,300 acres in the White River National Forest northeast of Aspen, including endangered Canada lynx habitat and units adjacent to the protected Woods Lake Roadless Area.

The Upper Fryingpan Vegetation Management Project covers 1,848 acres in the Aspen/Sopris Ranger District in Eagle and Pitkin Counties, Colorado, with the goal of providing lumber and biomass energy, increasing the diversity of tree age and size, and creating snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus) habitat, the primary food source of the Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis).

However, a formal objection filed by Denver-based forest management analyst and consultant Rocky Smith, along with representatives from Rocky Mountain Wild, Rocky Mountain Recreation Initiative and a chapter of Great Old Broads for Wilderness, alleges the project would instead degrade habitat for lynx and other wildlife, disturb soils and watersheds, and impact scenery. Objectors say the U.S. Forest Service must draft an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to detail the project’s potential harm to ecosystems and offer alternatives that would shrink its footprint.

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[NEWS] Omnibus Draft: Biomass Energy “Carbon Neutral”

– by Dean Scott, March 21, 2018, Bloomberg

smokestack question markEmissions from forest biomass would continue to be treated as carbon-neutral and the EPA would be barred from regulating lead in bullets and fishing tackle under the draft omnibus spending bill, congressional aides told Bloomberg Environment.

Both the ammunition and forest biomass regulatory provisions would be retained from previous spending measures.

The biomass language would shield facilities that burn wood and other organic matter from greenhouse gas regulation. The forestry and paper industries have long sought to have biomass treated as carbon neutral, arguing that the decaying plant matter would eventually release its trapped greenhouse gas emissions.

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[NEWS] EPA Chief Signals Push To Declare Biomass Energy Carbon-Neutral

EPA 600– by Annie Ropeik, February 15, 2018, NHPR

During his New Hampshire visit Tuesday, Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt signaled plans for new federal energy policies that could bolster a struggling regional industry – biomass.

In a letter to Gov. Chris Sununu, Pruitt suggests the agency plans to add biomass, including wood and other plant-based fuels, to its “‘all of the above’ energy portfolio.”

“As you and I both recognize, continuing to be responsible stewards of our nation’s forests and lands while utilizing all domestic forms of biomass to meet our energy needs are mutually compatible goals,” Pruitt wrote.

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[NEWS] Maine Governor Will Oppose Borrowing Aimed at Helping Biomass Industry

– by Scott Thistle, January 10, 2018, Portland Press Herald

maine-biomass_ben-mccanna

Photo: Ben McCanna / Press Herald

Gov. Paul LePage told lawmakers he opposes a pair of bills that would have taxpayers fund a $45 million subsidy to help Maine’s foundering biomass industry.

In a rare appearance before the Legislature’s budget-writing Appropriations Committee, LePage said the Legislature should focus instead on ways of creating industries that bring greater value from the state’s more than 18 million acres of forest lands.

The bills to support investments and a low-interest revolving loan fund come less than two years after the Legislature passed a $13.4 million taxpayer-funded bailout of the industry that LePage reluctantly supported at the time.

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[NEWS] Questions As U.S. Wood Pellet Makers Expand Production

– by Jacqueline Froelich, January 1, 2017, NPR

wood pellets 600The wood pellet fuel industry is growing in the United States. The largest chip mills across the South are gobbling up hardwood forests to meet demand for overseas customers.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Wood Pellets are big business. U.S. companies send almost a billion dollars worth of wood pellets to the European Union, which uses them to power energy plants. But the appetite overseas for wood pellets has conservationists in the U.S. worried about our forests. Arkansas Public Media’s Jacqueline Froelich reports.

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[NEWS] How a Trash Incinerator Became “Green” Energy

– by Scott Dance, December 15, 2017, Baltimore Sun

bal-the-greenwashing-of-trash-jerry-jackson-baltimore-sun

Photo: Jerry Jackson / Baltimore Sun

A trash incinerator in Southwest Baltimore is the city’s largest single source of air pollution. But a state law has nonetheless allowed it to collect roughly $10 million in subsidies over the past six years through a program intended to promote green energy.

Few commuters who pass the imposing white smokestack on Interstate 95 have any idea that the plant burns their household waste, that their electric bills help to maintain it, or that it releases thousands of pounds of greenhouse gases and toxic substances — carbon dioxide, hydrochloric acid, formaldehyde among them — into the air every year.

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