2010 March 18: RI: Against Biomass Burning: Trout Unlimited against biomass burning because of effect on streams


Trout Unlimited

MA/RI State Council

Dear Members,

Please read. We only have 12 days to act on this – March 17th is

the deadline.

We have the opportunity to prevent biomass burning power

plants from adversely impacting our rivers and streams here in

Massachusetts, which has turned into ground zero nationally

on the biomass issue. While proponents claim that burning

wood, construction waste and other debris is carbon neutral,

and this form of power generation has been stamped as

"green" in recent federal legislation and by state politicians

supporting the plants, biomass burning is anything but.

Biomass-burning plants will generate more fine particulate

matter than coal fired plants. It takes 20 years for a new tree

planted to replace one that has been harvested for biomass to

begin absorbing any significant amount of carbon dioxide

from the atmosphere. The new biomass power plants on the

drawing board now for central and western Massachusetts will

require essentially clear cutting forests in the state to provide

enough wood for the projected 30 year life of these plants.

Even then, there won’t be enough raw wood to feed these

plants, leading to pressure to burn construction debris, animal

waste, and municipal trash as fuel, causing even more health


Aside from the adverse health impacts from the increase in

particulate matter, the pressure on wood sources will impact

headwater and tributary streams to all the major rivers in the

best remaining native trout waters we have. To the extent these

plants require water as cooling sources, rivers such as the

Westfield will face massive water withdrawals, and hot water

Take Action Today >>

Action Item:

Call your state Senators

and Representatives and let

them know that you support

House Bill 4458

1. To find your local

legislator, click here.

2. Call and tell them you

support House Bill 4458.

3. Spread the word to



discharges of 85 degrees, even in the summertime when rivers

are at their lowest. State regulators allow this because

Massachusetts regulations permit the use of annual data

averages, rather than specific actual data, when considering

impacts on river flow and temperature levels. We are

concerned that development of biomass plants will have a

serious adverse impact on Massachusetts’ best coldwater

resources, such as the Westfield and Deerfield rivers.


Sadly, none of the planning for biomass considers the potential

impact of global warming on our rivers and streams, an impact

that would be amplified by the carbon dioxide spewed from

biomass plants.

Last year a ballot initiative was circulated that would limit the

amount of carbon dioxide a biomass plant in Massachusetts

may produce to be eligible for tax and other state subsidies. It

received over 100,000 signatures, and was certified for

inclusion on the ballot this coming November. As part of the

initiative process, the legislature first has an opportunity to

pass a bill that would do what the ballot initiatve does.

Right now, House Bill 4458 is before the Joint Committee on

Telecommunications and Utilities. The committee has until

March 17, 2010, to report out a bill for the legislature to

consider. Support for this bill is crucial right now. Having

acceptable legislation passed will allow the state to begin

addressing the biomass issue much sooner. It also guarantees

protection now for our rivers and streams.

Please call your state Senators and Representatives and let

them know that you support House Bill 4458. Ask them to

contact the members of the Joint Committee on

Telecommunications and Utilities, and urge them to report out

a strong bill. Also ask your legislators to report back to you on

the action they took.

Here are some suggestions as to what you should say to your

Senator or Representative when you call:


First, ask to speak directly with the

Senator/Representative. If unavailable (most likely),

ask to speak to the Senator/Representative’s staff

person handling the biomass burning issue.


Introduce yourself, including your home address,

and say that you are calling in support of House Bill



Ask for support of House Bill 4458, to end state

incentives to build biomass and garbage burning power

plants in Mass. Biomass electric generating plants are

being planned for some of our nicest rivers. These

plants need huge volumes of water for cooling, and

their withdrawals will add to summer low water

conditions, killing off fish and wildlife.


Biomass-burnin lants emit ollutants that cause

cancer, asthma, heart attacks and other diseases.


Urge your (Representative/Senator) to submit a

strong recommendation to the Joint Committee on

Telecommunications and Utilities to support House

Bill 4458. I also would like to hear back from my

(Representative/Senator) to know if they will support

House Bill 4458 and if they have made a supporting

recommendation to the Committee.

Thank you David Glater and Peter Schilling for your hard work on this



Joseph Overlock


MA/RI State Council

19 Royal Ave. – North Adams, MA 01247

Joe.Overlock@gmail.com – (413) 652-1638

This entry was posted in PQR States = PA, RI = Pennsylvania, Rhode Island. Bookmark the permalink.

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