Olympic Forest Coalition Takes Stand Against Biomass Burner in PT

Questions raised by the OFC for the State to answer. Seems like a set of reasonable questions.

The Olympic Forest Coalition, a nonprofit, membership organization based on the Olympic Peninsula, is opposed to the permit approval of the Port Townsend Paper Mill Cogeneration Incinerators being proposed. Aside from the serious sustainability issues of such a facility, the health of the residents of Port Townsend and Jefferson County is clearly threatened.

Biomass burning is one of the largest contributors of black carbon, a major cause of global warming and a major health concern. The American Lung Association has come out against biomass burning because of studies showing respiratory problems. There are other problems as well, some relating to dioxin-like components produced in biomass burning. Four scientific studies in the U.K. have looked at health effects. One showed an increased risk of lethal congenital anomaly, such as spina bifida and heart defects in infants born to women living near incinerators. Two others showed a significant increase in the risk of sarcoma. Another study found that exposure to high levels of dioxin was correlated to significantly lower boy-to-girl birth ratios. Astudy in Italy showed increased mortality among women living in the vicinity of the incinerators compared with those living far away, for all causes: colon and breast cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases.

The relationship between air pollutants and acidification on our waters is even a more immediate and dangerous threat to the fish, wildlife, and shellfish inhabiting the Hood Canal/Puget Sound. The local economy relying on the shellfish industry is already being threatened. The unusual hypoxia levels are increasing rapidly, causing fish kills. Adding to the problem with increased acidification by incinerator stacks emitting more CO2 will nail the coffin.

Our forests will eventually suffer a permanent death because all the incinerator plants proposed for Washington State cannot possibly sustain themselves on slash byproducts only, hog fuel, and other polluting substances and materials. Logging will resume at a scale proportionate to the late 1800’s / early 1900’s when entire counties were practically razored.

In addition, has the Department of Ecology completed studies on the following issues?

Particulates / PM10 and PM2.5
Ash Regulation
Construction Impacts
Fire Risk
Offsite Emissions
Flood Plains
Increased Barge Traffic
Increased Truck Traffic
Recreation Impact

The Department of Ecology needs to embark on all of these studies to determine the health risks posed by biomass incinerators to humans, fish and wildlife, and our forests. Therefore, we request that you deny this permitting process and DNS until such studies can be conducted, completed, and shared with the general public.

Thank you,

Connie Gallant
Vice President

2 Responses

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

    Also see our relevant page on Incineration.

  2. We in Shelton and Mason County eagerly await world of your success!

Comments are closed.