Citizens Action Coalition
Two leading Indiana citizen/environmental groups — Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana and Concerned Citizens of Scott County — filed as joint interveners in Liberty Green Renewables Indiana LLC’s request to the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) for declination of jurisdiction.
Liberty Green is requesting that the Commission decline to exercise any jurisdiction over the construction, ownership or operation of, or any other activity in connection with, the Scottsburg Renewable Energy Center — stating in the petition to the IURC that "encouragement of this type of facility by its declining to exercise jurisdiction over Petitioner will be beneficial to the State of Indiana."
In the request, Liberty Green LLC claims that the Scottsburg Renewable Energy Center will specifically generate electricity from woody biomass, a renewable, environmentally benign and energy efficient resource.
The groups assert that biomass incinerators are in fact not in the public interest, saying that they instead pose undue risks to public health, local water resources and the environment. "There are many factors, such as water source and usage, wastewater disposal, fuel supply chains, and the impacts on local health and infrastructure that need to be fully considered before Liberty Green can deem the construction of their facility a public benefit," says Zac Elliot, program organizer with Citizens Action Coalition.
Pat Berna, vice president of the Concerned Citizens of Scott County said: "The potential endangerment to public health, local resources and the financial burden in the community weighs heavily on the citizens of Scott County."
"Per unit of power produced, biomass incineration produces more CO2, more particulates, and more NOx (nitrogen oxide) than burning coal." – Dr. Bill Sammons, biomass expert
Ms. Berna is also hopeful that all local officials will follow the citizens’ lead in opposing the plant. She praised Terry Amick, a Scottsburg city councilman, for filing suit against the town’s executive branch for its attempt to sell city-owned land to Liberty Green without city council approval. "The more people learn about this project." she said, "the more they don’t like it."
Citizens Action Coalition and Concerned Citizens of Scott County have also produced federal government research indicating that biomass generators are not as renewable and environmentally benign as Liberty Green claims. The most current research from environmental impact reports and government analyses (National Renewable Energy Laboratory) show that for several regulated pollutants, biomass burning is exceedingly dirty.
Dr. Bill Sammons, a physician and biomass expert, said that, "Per unit of power produced, biomass incineration produces more CO2, more particulates, and more NOx (nitrogen oxide) than burning coal. If allowed to be permitted, the plants in Indiana, as well as the hundreds across the country, will make people sicker and significantly increase health costs while actually accelerating the deterioration of air quality rather than being a solution for climate change."
Currently in Liberty Green’s draft air permit, fuel sources for the facility can/will include: tree and forest-related resources, including mill residues, harvesting residues, tree chips, thinning and trimming debris, slash, brush, storm debris, land clearing debris and right-of-way maintenance debris, solid non-hazardous, cellulosic waste material, agricultural material including orchard tree crops, vineyard, grain, switch grass, corn stover and other crop by-products or residues, and solid wood waste materials, including waste pallets, crates and dunnage, uncoated manufacturing wood waste, construction wood waste and demolition wood wastes.
About the Groups
The mission of the Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana is to initiate, facilitate and coordinate citizen action directed to improving the quality of life of all inhabitants of the State of Indiana through principled advocacy of public policies to preserve democracy, conserve natural resources, protect the environment, and provide affordable access to essential human services.
The Concerned Citizens of Scott County is a non-profit group tasked with being the watchdog of Scott County. Concerned Citizens of Scott County is composed of local citizens who currently are working against the construction of a biomass power plant in Scott County. In the past they have fought against the creation of a new landfill in Leota and the Recontech hazardous waste storage facility.