2010 March 12: Care 2 Vote: Biomass Blunder: USDA Advocates Burning Wood For Electricity

2010 March 12: Care 2 Vote: Biomass Blunder: USDA Advocates Burning Wood For Electricity

posted by: Beth Buczynski 7 days ago
Biomass Blunder: USDA Advocates Burning Wood For Electricity

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Biomass Blunder: USDA Advocates Burning Wood For Electricity

Hello,
I saw this on Care2 and thought you’d like it as well.

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It’s true, environmentalists can be a depressing bunch. Every day it seems like more reports surface about how harmful almost every action, purchase and decision we make is to the health of the natural world, which is why good news, when available, is significant.

Consider a recent post on the appropriately named Good Blog:

Which states could supply their own electricity using renewable energy alone? Most of them. Using data from the recent National Renewable Energy Laboratory report, the New Rules Project put together this map, showing the percentage of its own electricity needs that each state could generate with onshore and offshore wind power, hydroelectric and geothermal power, and rooftop photovoltaics.

This encouraging information only makes the topic of this post more confusing: The Department of Agriculture has proposed regulations that would expand a massive, misguided subsidy program that encourages the harvest and burning of trees for energy.

Burning wood for energy and heat is a very old, very dirty idea, and one that seems completely out of place in contrast to the promising growth of the solar and wind energy industries in the United States.

Nonetheless, the Center for Biological Diversity reports that "Dozens of large, dirty, wood-burning electricity facilities — staggeringly inefficient — are now being planned across the country. A single such facility would require increased logging on tens of thousands of acres of forest each year."

Based on the flawed premise that any burning of wood is carbon neutral, electricity generated by burning trees and wood wastes — referred to as "biomass" — is counted as renewable energy by numerous state and federal programs intended to shift our reliance away from fossil fuels. Unfortunately, biomass burning is far from carbon neutral.

And while an area logged to fuel a biomass facility may ultimately grow back, it takes decades or even centuries for a forest to recapture as much carbon as is lost when it’s logged. Even worse, areas being targeted for this preposterous plan include some of the country’s most sacred old-growth trees, like Tongass National Forest in Alaska.

Please act now to let federal officials know that tax dollars should not go to the timber industry and power companies to subsidize actions that pollute the air, undermine climate solutions, and contribute to deforestation.

Sign the Care2 Petition to Reverse Obama Administration’s Approval of Tongass Logging!
Read more: energy, trees, forests, conservation, usda, global warming, biomass

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Is burning trees a viable answer to the energy crisis?

  • no!
  • leaning no
  • leaning yes
  • yes!
  • 89%

    no!

  • 4%

    leaning no

  • 3%

    leaning yes

  • 3%

    yes!

comments

150 comments add your comment
Eugene S.

IT IS WITH DEEP SORROW TO HEAR HOW THE VERY LEADIND DEVELOPMENT COUNTRY IS GOING TO DESTROY NATURE, ESPECIALLY TREES TO GENERATE ENERGY,SO WE MAY LACK OXYGEN AND DEATH IS WELCOMING ALL OF US , EVEN INNOCENTS( TO THAT DECISION).PLEASE STOP, I BEG EVERY ONE WHO IS INVOLVED IN DECISION MAKING OR JUST TO EXECUTE THE VERY BAD PROJECT. ONCE AGAIN STOP!!

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Jewels S.

It always comes down to money these days. Someone is going to make money from this and doesn’t care what the damage is. I hope some non profit can do the research and show who would be making money from this and they might find who paid off who in the USDA to let this idea go forward. Shame on these greedy people.

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Michal Ciepielewski

good to know,thanks:)

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Judith Puhalski

This is such a big mistake. When will we learn not to destroy all that Mother Earth has given us. It will be our own undoing. I, personally suffer from Multiple Chemical Sensitivity do to pesticide spraying 25 years ago at my place of business. Today I cannot tolerate any kind of wood burning smoke. Many elderly are also sensitive to smoke along with those with lung problems and allergies. In our state we are presently trying to stop all burning in outdoor furnaces from April through October.

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rita b.

  • rita b. says
  • Mar 10, 2010 12:48 PM
One of the obvious ways to solve this problem is conservation. That is where the governments on all levels should be putting their emphasis. Encourage and help people to make their homes and buildings more energy efficient. This would create jobs too. Like installing better windows, blowing in insulation etc.
Roof top gardens for large buildings. Planting trees around your house. This also soaks up ground water.

A woman in our town developed a method for growing plants on the outside walls of buidings. She claimed this cut energy costs by more than 50%. This is the type of creative solution we need to have more of, not going back to the dark age and burning trees. Burning wood puts all kinds of particulates in the air.
Many years ago, I once tryed using wood to heat my home. It made me sick.

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Past Member

The mere fact that we are having a public discussion about these issues is a step forward in our society. Keep the research and conversation going until we find a GOOD solution to our human problems that will keep our footprints lighter than ever before.

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Michelle Maas

Just take a look at Africa where people who live in rural areas have no choice other than to burn wood to keep them warm and cook their food. The continent is turning into a desert so rapidly. Burning wood is not the answer. Trees cannot grow quick enough to make it a good eco-friendly alternative.

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Image Credit: Flickr Creative Commons – smcdevitt
Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.
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