Category Archives: violations

[NEWS] California Biomass Company Ordered to Pay $4.2 Million for Dioxin in Ash

– May 5, 2017, Times Herald

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Photo: California Biomass Energy Alliance

A Yolo County biomass company was ordered Friday to pay a multi-million dollar penalty as result of civil settlement reached in an environmental protection action.

Woodland Biomass Power was sentenced by Yolo County Superior Court Judge Samuel McAdam to pay $4.22 million for penalties, costs and remediation.

The action was filed by district attorneys from Yolo, Solano and San Joaquin counties.

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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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[NEWS] Kentucky Biodiesel Leak Suffocates Thousands of Fish

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

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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”.

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

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

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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] California Biomass Facility Under Fire from Tribe Over Pollution Violations

– by Will Houston, November 18, 2016, Eureka Times Standard

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Blue Lake Power (Shaun Walker)

When the Blue Lake biomass power plant opened in 1987, many in the community welcomed it as a new renewable energy source, but for some, that welcome seems to have worn thin.

“At the time, it was a good solution to our problems,” said Kit Mann, a 38-year Blue Lake resident. “And times have changed.”

The Blue Lake Rancheria recently intervened in a federal lawsuit against the 11-megawatt power plant, now owned by Blue Lake Power LLC, for alleged federal Clean Air Act violations. The tribe states the proposed settlement agreement in the case will not address pollution issues that have impacted the tribe for about 30 years. Meanwhile, Blue Lake residents are circulating a petition calling on the city council to revoke its property lease for the power plant at the earliest possibility.

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[NEWS] South Dakota Ethanol Refinery Cited for Safety Violations After Worker’s Death

– November 3, 2016, CBS Minnesota

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POET biorefining (Photo: POET)

Federal investigators have found multiple safety violations at a South Dakota ethanol refinery expansion project following the death of a worker in May.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says it cited the worker’s employer, North Dakota-based Bilfinger-Westcon, with five major safety violations.

Investigators found the 38-year-old pipefitter was removing a vent line May 6 when 190-proof ethanol spilled onto him, flowed through a grated floor and was ignited by welding operations on a lower floor. The fire engulfed the man.

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