2010 March 9: OH Buckeye Forest Council: Biomass Burning has Large Costs and Tiny Benefits


2010 March 9: OH Buckeye Forest Council: Biomass Burning has Large Costs and Tiny Benefits

Contributed by Buckeye Forest Council

Tuesday, 09 March 2010

Last Updated Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Biomass burning is dirtier than coal when it comes to the emissions that matter most to public health and climate change.

Smoke stack emissions of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide and soot particles (known as Particulate Matter) per unit of

power generated by burning wood are higher than from burning coal.

Existing biomass power production is already having considerable negative impacts on our nation’s forests.

Additional tax incentives will make this problem worse. In Maine, Massachusetts, Oregon, and many other states,existing

biomass power plants burn whole trees to make electricity. Congress unwisely provided federal financial assistance to

cut down our forests for burning in biomass plants. Those trees would not have been cut without the public subsidies

driving biomass power production; those trees would be cleaning polluted air, storing carbon, providing wildlife habitat,

replenishing soil, and providing families with a place to play and explore.

Buckeye Forest Council has launched a program to halt biomass combustion for energy generation in Ohio.

We have undertaken efforts to educate Ohio residents and elected officials on the fallacy of biomass carbon neutrality.

We are committed to taking a leadership position in efforts to halt Ohio permitting of biomass to electricity proposals,

pressure Ohio Division of Forestry (D.O.F.) and U.S. Forest Service to protect Ohio’s public forests habitats from

biomass exploitation, and lead Ohio efforts to close biomass loopholes in state and national climate legislation.

Get Involved Become a Buckeye Forest Council member today.

Donate Now Each tax deductible donation helps protect Ohio forests.

Find out more with these resources

Massachusetts Environmental Energy Fact-sheet mass._environmental_energy_biomass_fact-sheet

Discusses how biomass over-exploits forests, degrades their vital carbon sequestration capacity, has significant carbon

and other pollution emissions but is incentivize at the expense of truly “green” and renewable energy



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Physicians for Social Responsibility psr_press_release

PSR Oppose Construction of Biomass Power Plants in the Pioneer Valley.

Mass. Medical Society mass_medical_society

Massachusetts Medical Society adopts policy opposing biomass power plants.

Massachusetts Environmental Energy biomass briefing meea_biomass_briefing_october_update

Three large-scale biomass plants are in the permitting process in Massachusetts. If built, they will have significant forest

cutting, greenhouse gas, and air and water pollution impacts. This document gives an overview of some of these


Medical Health Letter mass_medical_society

From pediatrician William Sammons, M.D., of Ecolaw, to Senators Amy Klobuchar, Chair, and Lamar Alexander, Ranking

Member, Senate Subcommittee on Children’s Health, Environment and Public Works Committee on

“Health Effects of Biomass Burning Under S. 1733, ‘Clean Energy Jobs and American Power


American Lung Association in Mass. To Kerry am_lung_assoc_in_mass_to_kerry

“The American Lung Association in Massachusetts views biomass burning as a significant source of air

pollution…In particular, biomass emissions contain fine particulate matter, sulfur oxides, carbon monoxide, volatile

organic compounds, and various irritant gases such as nitrogen oxides that can scar the lungs. Like cigarettes, biomass

emissions also contain chemicals that are known or suspected to be carcinogens, such as polycyclic aromatic

hydrocarbons (PAHs) and dioxin….Given the technology and the natural resources available to us, we do not

believe that anyone should be forced to choose between electric power and their health. It is a false choice we need not


Biomass Loophole for US Senate biomass_loophole_one_pager_for_senate


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The Big Biomass Boondoggle: The Case for Capping Bioenergy Emissions

“There is a major loophole in the proposed climate legislation currently debated in the United States. Potent

greenhouse gas (GhG) emissions from burning biomass and forest materials for energy are not held to the same

standard to which coal is held. Yet the emissions from burning biomass could be just as bad as those from coal….

Since the carbon cap does not include bioenergy emissions, energy producers will be drawn to burn biomass rather than

coal. Electricity plants that burn coal for electricity have to acquire permits for the GhG pollution created, which is a

disincentive to produce energy from fossil fuels. As a result, there will be a greater incentive to burn biomass since there

is no cost for the pollution it creates. In turn, this creates a huge incentive to unsustainably cut down trees for energy

production because it is assumed that the carbon impact is zero even if that is not the case.”

Center for Biological Diversity Comments on the Swamped Timber Harvesting Plan swamped_thp_comments

A literature review of carbon emissions from logging, including post-harvest soil loss for as long as two decades. For

example, “…for at least 14 years after logging, regenerating forests remained net sources of CO2 owing to

increased rates of soil respiration” and “Reductions in soil C stocks over 20 years following clear cuts can

range between 5 and 20 t C/ha and are therefore significant compared to the gain of C in biomass of the maturing

forest.” (p. 9)


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