Tag Archives: wood stoves

[WINTER 2017/2018] Inside the EPA-Certified Wood Stove Debate

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[WINTER 2017/2018] Inside the EPA-Certified Wood Stove Debate

FEATURE ARTICLE: Can EPA Wood Stoves Cut Indoor Air Pollution?

OPINION (PRO): EPA Wood Stoves Reduce Air Emissions

OPINION (CON): EPA Wood Stoves Still Pollute

[NEWS] Increase in Wood Heating Predicted This Winter

– by Erin Voegele, October 14, 2016, Biomass Magazine

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Photo: Homestead.org

The U.S. Energy Information Administration has released the October edition of its Short-Term Energy Outlook, along with its Winter Fuels Outlook, predicting household expenditures on natural gas, heating oil, electricity and propane will increase this winter.

According to EIA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts this winter, measured in heating degree days, will be 3 percent warmer than the previous 10-year average, but much colder than last winter, which averaged 15 percent warmer than the 10-year average nationally.

Within the report, the EIA notes the number of households using cord wood or wood pellets as the primary spacing heating fuel has increased 26 percent since 2005, reaching approximately 2.5 billion households in 2015. In addition, approximately 8 percent of households use wood as a secondary source of heat, making wood second only to electricity as a supplemental heating fuel.

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Biomass Energy Generating Controversy

– by Josh Schlossberg, September 1, 2016, Earth Island Journal

Kevin Bundy has tramped through his share of forests in California’s Sierra Nevada. Where he sees a diverse ecosystem of ponderosa pine, incense cedar, and white fir, prime wildlife habitats, and one of the world’s best buffers against climate change, many public and private land managers see something different. Of course, they too observe living forests, but they also see tinder for future wildfires, as well as an opportunity to procure home-grown, renewable biomass energy.

A senior attorney with the conservation group Center for Biological Diversity, Bundy works at the national level to ensure strict accounting of carbon emissions from the burning of biomass, and on the local level to limit the type of fuels burned by biomass facilities. He’s convinced that the nation needs to “get away from fossil fuels and shift to 100 percent renewable energy as quickly as possible,” given the threat of climate change. But while he acknowledges biomass might be renewable “in some sense,” he sees it as “something of a false solution to our climate and energy challenges” compared to other renewable sources like solar and wind.

Yet biomass is big business in the United States. In 2014, half of “renewable” energy in the US came from bioenergy – that is, from burning trees, crop residues (most often from corn and soybean harvests), manure, and even trash to produce electricity and heat, or to manufacture liquid transportation fuels like ethanol or biodiesel. Meanwhile, hydropower accounted for 26 percent, wind made up 18 percent, and solar accounted for a mere 4.4 percent. A significant increase in biomass energy production is likely as the US tries to ramp up its renewables output.

There remains considerable debate about just how prominently biomass should feature in energy planning, what with disagreements about the impact it has on forests and agricultural land, how clean it is, and its contributions to climate change. Much of the public is also confused about how biomass compares to other forms of renewable energy. This confusion reflects the conflicting scientific opinions and government policies regarding biomass energy.

READ MORE at Earth Island Journal

[EXCLUSIVE] Where Do Environmental Groups Stand on Bioenergy?

– by Josh Schlossberg, The Biomass Monitor

One-quarter of renewable energy in the U.S. in 2015 came from wind (21%) and solar (6%), according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Meanwhile, 43% was from generated from bioenergy, combusting trees, crops, manure, and trash for electricity and/or heat, or converting these materials into liquid transportation fuels.

So where do the nation’s largest and most influential environmental groups stand on bioenergy, the largest source of renewables?

The Biomass Monitor contacted representatives for the following organizations (listed alphabetically) to determine their stances on biomass power and heating, liquid biofuels for transportation, and trash incineration: 350*, Center for Biological Diversity, Environmental Working Group, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, National Wildlife Federation*, Natural Resources Defense Council, Rainforest Action Network, Sierra Club, and Stand (formerly Forest Ethics).

*350 and National Wildlife Federation representatives didn’t respond to repeated inquiries, so organizational platforms are based on information found online.

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Support A Full Spectrum View of Bioenergy

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:
Roy Keene, Forester (Eugene, Oregon)
Dr. Brian Moench, Physician (Salt Lake City, Utah)
Jon Rhodes, Hydrologist (Portland, Oregon)
George Wuerthner, Ecologist (Bozeman, Montana)

[NEWS] Air Pollution in North Pole Worse Than Los Angeles, Milwaukee and Detroit Combined

– by Amanda Bohman, May 25, 2016, Newsminer

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Photo: Eric Engman / News Miner

The highest counts of episodic PM 2.5 particulate pollution reported in the country are coming from a pollution monitor on Hurst Road in North Pole.

The counts are not just high. They are outrageously high — almost twice as high as the next highest community in the nation, according to data collected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“This level of pollution is rarely experienced in the United States,” said Claudia Vaupel, EPA air planning team leader.

On winter days, when chimneys are churning out smoke and the air is stagnant, a thick haze settles on the area off Badger Road, burning people’s eyes, throats and noses. It’s a health hazard, which is why the EPA requires the pollution monitoring and is urging the state to take action.

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[EXCLUSIVE] Is Biomass Energy Renewable? New Report Says No

– by Josh Schlossberg, The Biomass Monitor

A new law review article questions whether biomass should count as renewable energy, arguing that carbon dioxide and air pollutant emissions disqualify the controversial energy source.

Wood Burning, Biomass, Air Pollution, and Climate Change, by Christopher D. Ahlers, Adjunct Professor of Law at Vermont Law School, explains that the term renewable is a “subjective policy judgment” that must take into account the health and environmental impacts of a given energy source.

Currently, biomass energy makes up 50 percent of renewable energy in the U.S., according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, with half of that tally coming from wood products.

Ahlers, legal support for the Philadelphia-based Clean Air Council, contrasts biomass energy from solar and wind, and instead compares bioenergy to fossil fuels, as “both involve the extraction of solid material from the earth, for the purpose of combustion.” He also discusses the time difference between growing a new tree (decades to centuries) and the formation of new fossil fuel deposits (millennia).

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