Environmental Coalition challenges Nippon’s proposed biomass incinerator on Port Angeles waterfront

Environmental Coalition challenges Nippon’s proposed biomass incinerator on Port Angeles waterfront

Seven environmental groups, including the Cascade Chapter of the Sierra Club, have filed a legal appeal of the City of Port Angeles’ approval of permit to allow Nippon Paper to build a biomass incinerator at its shoreline plant on the popular Waterfront Trail along Ediz Hook.

No Biomass Burn, Port Townsend Air Watchers, the Center for Environmental Law and Policy, the World Temperate Rainforest Network, the Olympic Forest Coalition, the Olympic Environmental Council and the Cascade Chapter of the Sierra Club have joined together to take this legal action, filed October 6, 2010. 

The appeal disputes many aspects of Port Angeles’ approval of the Nippon permit, including:

*          The impact of many millions of gallons of additional water being removed by Nippon from the Elwha River each day.

*          The impact on fresh water and salt water fish, shellfish, crustaceans and other aquatic life when the river flow is reduced.

*          The impact across the North Olympic Peninsula on human health and the environmental effects of pollutants from Nippon’s proposed incinerator.

*          The climate impact of hundreds of thousands of tons of greenhouse gases emitted each year by the proposed Nippon incinerator.

*            The impact on the long-term sustainability of our forests that provide clean water, wildlife habitat, and support jobs in our local economy.

Unlike power plants that burn coal or oil or gas, biomass burning poses new threats to the health of our residents, our rivers, forests and oceans.

The Nippon incinerator is one of five biomass incinerators currently proposed for the Olympic Peninsula. Their cumulative impact raises the specter of scouring the forests clean of woody debris that naturally contribute to a healthy forest environment able to sustain wildlife, absorb rainfall and help mitigate flooding.

And it isn’t just the depletion of forest resources that has the groups concerned.

"The Elwha River needs water to support the return of the salmon," said Dr. John Osborn, Board President of the Center for Environmental Law & Policy.  "The permit we are challenging allows millions of gallons of water a day to be taken from the River for the Nippon incinerator.  Spending hundreds of millions of dollars to remove dams and then dewatering the Elwha River makes no sense."

Nippon’s smokestacks emit plumes that can be seen for miles. Local residents will be impacted and the toxic pollutants those stacks release will be carried by prevailing winds and the notoriously strong currents of the Strait of Juan de Fuca far beyond the city limits of Port Angeles.

Major increases in diesel truck traffic to and from the plant will also extend the air, water and noise pollution experienced by local residents to people and wildlife far beyond the Nippon site.

The coalition of environmental groups share a commitment to protecting our environment, including its impact on human health. The coalition’s appeal insists that Port Angeles overturn its approval of the Nippon incinerator and that Port Angeles correct many defects in its analysis of the Nippon incinerator proposal.

2 Responses

  1. Find out more criticql information on Biomass Energy
    or download our Biomass Fact Sheet.

  2. I live in Shelton, Mason County, where we are being asked to host two additional biomass incinerators (ADAGE and SOLOMON) in addition to the existing dirty burner in the harbor at Simpson Timber. There are less than 10,000 people in Shelton, so that would be one incinerator for approximately every 3,000 people! We are being railroaded by local elected officials at the Port of Shelton and what feels like every elected official in the state (most won’t commit to liking or hating biomass incinerators; Senator Patty Murray, as you probably know, signed a letter to the EPA asking that the standards not be to harsh on these industries. Can you help us?

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