Evaluating targets for reducing carbon emissions. NY Times

An interesting series in the New York Times called Hindsight has been evaluating business and government pledges on various social issues such as global warming, deforestation, drinking water availability and other social crisis’ that have brought attention and demands for change.

This week, they looked at promises made in the 2010 timeframe to lower carbon emissions in the EU. What did they find that’s interesting to us on the Peninsula? That Biomass was thrown in with the mix of “solutions” and that it is not a solution at all.


Back in around 2010, this blog covered the efforts of then State Representative Kevin Van De Wege to promote biomass as a solution to lowering energy costs and protecting the environment. His work was based on research by WSU that resulted in a paper that was heralded as as a reason to promote using clear cut slash (also known as ‘hog fuel’) to burn to create electricity. No environmental organizations at that time bought the idea, though it was passed using a special designation of calling it “experimental” in the bill. It never was taken off experimental status.

Rep Van de Wege understandably promoted it because it gave more jobs to out of work loggers here on the Peninsula and incentivized pulp plants in P.A., Port Townsend and Shelton to experiment with burning hog fuel. Concerns by environmental organizations were ignored in order to allow the companies to build the plants and start using the fuel. Ultimately, all attempts to make this source of energy failed. Additionally, as the NY Times article points out, it actually made things worse.

As one drives around 101 on the Peninsula these days, it is impossible not to notice the enormous amounts of clear cuts going on, from west of the Hood Canal Bridge to Port Angeles. The stacks of slash are sitting in massive piles, some burning, some just rotting. With them go any hope of using the vast forest resources of the Peninsula to sequester carbon for reasons documented in the article above.

Nippon paper mill, cogeneration plant in Port Angeles for sale – PDN

So often in the past, we have seen possible losses of industries used as justifications to attack environmentalists and government environmental regulations. There is often a knee jerk reaction by certain politicians using these tactics to make political hay. But before people jump to conclusions about what is triggering this sale, here’s some key facts in the article. They point to a number of issues that have nothing to do with government regulations, environmental concerns, etc. In fact, biomass has been given more than it’s fair share of government giveaways in the areas of regulations. Some might ask, “what regulations? Because it was exempted from EPA rules.

We have been reporting on those issues for over 8 years now. Search on this web site for the word “biomass” to see the whole series of articles.

What is known: Nippon has  been trying to make a living in a declining market segment, while expanding their product offerings. Apparently that hasn’t been working out.

Nippon is the only maker of telephone book paper in the United States…..Company officials have said they have been trying to move away from telephone-book paper by offering other paper products.

Also: the co-generation plant has cost them much more than expected, and apparently the manufacturer was sued by them over the defective boiler. To be clear,  biomass plants (burning of “hog fuel”) like this were allowed by a bill that was passed in the Washington State Legislature  during the height of the last decades’ fuel crisis (remember about 2004-08 when fuel was extremely expensive?). It was supported by both Kevin Van De Wege, and Steve Tharinger, among others. I asked Steve and Kevin personally at the time about the concerns but they shrugged them off. It was clear that to them, they saw biomass as a ‘job creator’ technology.

Many other environmentalists challenged the idea that burning what was essentially ‘slash’ (left over biomass from logging) was a bad idea, and that it was unproven as a technology. The bill clearly stated, at that time, that the technology was ‘experimental’ and that the legislature was going to re-evaluate it later. They never have. It’s still considered an experimental technology.  

This blog covered the protests when they happened.

EPA allows biomass to be exempt from greenhouse gas emissions rules for 3 years.


Protests over biomass plants being licensed.



Mason County biomass plant shut down.


Scientists disturbed at biomass as future “green” energy source.


What else is known: 

The cogeneration plant was built to produce “green energy” for sale that is generated by burning biomass material.

But the plant was plagued with operational problems and higher-than-expected construction costs.

Construction ended up costing $20 million more than the original $71 million estimate projected in 2010.

Nippon and FSE Energy, which manufactured the boiler, reached a confidential, out-of-court settlement over the facility’s defective boiler and $17 million in disputed monetary charges.

Hopefully Nippon can find a buyer that can guide this plant into production of products that the market wants, and that the biomass plant finally gets working, or shut down, which may be the right thing to do. It would be interesting to understand whether the paper mill would be able to buy cost effective electricity compared to the biomass plant.


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Washington State Legislature Approves Ultrafine Particle Study for Jefferson and Clallam Counties

This is extremely good news to a start on finding out what kinds of pollution we are breathing and if the new biomass plants are actually doing something that needs cleaning up. That is, if they are built, which seems not a sure thing at this point in time, due to economics, not environmental concerns, unfortunately.


The Olympic Clean Air Agency and the University of Washington propose to jointly study air quality in Jefferson and Clallam Counties. This project will evaluate possible air quality changes associated with new biomass co-generation facilities in Port Townsend and Port Angeles and changes in ultra-fine particle concentrations associated with both facilities. The project will support state of the art measurements of ultra-fine particles and will respond directly to concerns of the two communities around health effects and industrial development.


Concerns regarding greenhouse gas emissions and climate change have encouraged the development of biomass fueled power stations, i.e. biomass cogeneration plants. The biomass fuel varies for each region and can include sugar-cane stalk, corn and rice straw, and palm and woody debris to name a few. This form of power generation is controversial within the “green” community. Proponents claim that burning biomass contributes a net zero addition to atmospheric carbon dioxide compared to fossil fuel combustion [Taylor, 2010]. The carbon released during biomass combustion will be re-used in plant material for the next cycle of energy generation, while fossil fuels represent carbon that has been stored for millennia. Since new co-generation plants are required to use Best Available Control Technology (BACT) to prevent degradation of air quality, supporters further argue that burning biomatter in the plant is cleaner than slash burning outdoors and actually helps improve air quality. Furthermore, industry has been burning biomass waste for years without converting it to usable power, and therefore claim a net gain in power produced vs. carbon released [Taylor, 2010]. The US Department of Energy recognizes biomass co-generation plants as a renewable energy source and has awarded grants to finance their design and operation. (http://www.srs.gov/general/news/releases/nr12_doe-biomass-startup.pdf)

Opponents of biomass fueled co-generation are primarily concerned about subsequent environmental damage and the cleanliness of the technology. They claim that burning biomass will endanger forest land by increasing logging operations and argue that slash should be left to decompose on the forest floor. The primary concern regarding biomass fueled power centers on the release of harmful toxins and fine particulate that can negatively impact the health of residents living near the co-generation plants. Specifically, activists are concerned about ultrafine particles –diameters less than 100 nm – that are not detected by standard air monitoring instruments [Keywooda et al., 1999] and to which recent research ascribes significant health impacts [Keywooda et al., 1999; Morawska et al., 2004].

Recently two new biomass cogeneration plants were approved for installation on the Olympic Peninsula, one at Nippon Paper Industries in Port Angeles and the other at Port Townsend Paper Company in Port Townsend. Both mills have been burning woody biomass as waste for several decades. Construction of these co-generation plants requires installation of emission control technology predicted to decrease the total PM2.5 emitted, despite increasing the mass of fuel burned by a factor of three. PM2.5 is the mass concentration of atmospheric particles with diameters less than 2.5 microns. Other gaseous emissions such as Volatile Organic Compounds and NOx will roughly increase by 35 and 18 tons per year respectively. Despite these pollution controls, and maybe because of them, there is concern that although PM2.5 will decrease, the number of ultrafine particles, which may be more hazardous to respiratory and cardio health, will increase. Research has shown that when PM2.5 decreases, co-emitted gases like SO2 and NOx have less surface area on which to condense and are thus more likely to homogeneously nucleate ultrafine particles downwind of the emission site [Weber et al., 1997]. Despite these concerns, there is very little data that show the impact of biomass cogeneration plants on local and regional air quality, including PM2.5 and ultrafine particulate.

Proposed Study

Port Angeles and Port Townsend are ideal locations to conduct a study focusing on the impacts of biomass fueled cogeneration facilities on air quality downwind of the cogeneration plants. Both towns have similar meteorology and environmental conditions. There are no other large industrial sources or major freeways to obscure ultrafine and fine particulate emissions from the biomass cogeneration plants, although emissions from residential burning in the winter constitute a large fraction of the observed PM2.5 in bothcities. Currently the Olympic Region Clean Air Agency (ORCAA) maintains a permanent air monitoring site for PM2.5 in both Port Angeles and Port Townsend. Data on background concentrations of PM2.5, SO2, NOx, CO, and ozone are also available from Cheeka Peak, an NCore site located west of Port Angeles on the northwestern tip of the peninsula and measuring some of the cleanest air in the country. In addition to the permanent monitors, ORCAA will also install four optical particle counters (OPC) that provide data on the number concentration of particles larger than 0.3 microns at three locations in Port Angeles and at one location in Sequim. The OPCs will operate between January 2013 and December 2013. These monitors will move to Port Townsend in 2014. In both Port Angeles and Port Townsend, one of the OPCs will be collocated with the permanent air monitor, a nephelometer. ORCAA also has two aethalometers that measure black carbon concentration and can be used to differentiate between wood combustion and diesel combustion. One aethalometer will be installed at the permanent monitoring location and the other will be installed along with an OPC at one of the other temporary sites. The existence of these monitoring locations creates an infrastructure that will facilitate a study of ultrafine particles and source types of air pollution in the region.

In addition to ambient monitoring that already occurs in Clallam and Jefferson Counties the Olympic Region Clean Air Agency, in collaboration with the University of Washington, proposes to conduct an additional study to examine the concentration, sources, and lifetimes of ultrafine particulate in Port Angeles and Port Townsend.

The scientific questions to be addressed are:

1) 2) 3)

4) 5) 6) 7)


For this project we will establish two master research sites on the Olympic Peninsula. One will be located near residential areas of Port Townsend and the Port Townsend Paper Corp. The second site will be in Port Angeles near to the Nippon Paper Industries facility. At each site we will ideally conduct a series of pre/post-expansion intensive measurements that can complement the existing measurements using nephelometers, optical particle counters, and aethalometers. The Nippon co-generation plant, located in Port Angeles, expects to begin operating in September or October, 2013 and therefore baseline, winter measurements of ultrafine particles before operations commence may not be possible. To work around this issue, meteorology and plume dispersion modeling will allow data to be segregated to times when emissions from Nippon could affect measurements at the site and those times when they would not.

How will air quality respond to the change in emissions from the facility?

What is the distribution of PM2.5 in residential areas of both communities?

Is there evidence of an increase in ultrafine particulate matter from the expanded facilities?

What is the cause of the odors in the Port Townsend area and what can be done about these?

What are the source contributions to fine and ultrafine particulate in these two areas?

How does this change between winter and summer?

Which neighborhoods are most impacted by these facilities? Are the concentrations

reasonably modeled by a Gaussian plume distribution?

How do ultrafine particulate emissions from the facilities change in the winter relative to the summer?

Measurements of PM2.5, number concentration and size distribution of ultrafine particles (diameter < 100 nanometers), particle chemical speciation, and carbon monoxide will be made at both the Port Angeles and the Port Townsend sites. Continuous stack emission measurements at the facilities will complement the ambient measurements to determine their potential influence on the ambient air quality.

A proposed schedule for this work is as follows:
Summer 2013: 6-week experiment prior to facility modifications and expansion
Winter 2013: 6-week experiment prior to facility modifications and expansion (Port Townsend) Summer 2014: 6-week experiment after facility modifications and expansion
Winter 2014: 6-week experiment after facility modifications and expansion

Instruments and measurements that will be made in addition to those already made by ORCAA:


What it measures

Scanning Mobility Particle Sizer (SMPS), TSI 3936

Ultrafine particle size distribution

Aerosol Mass Spectrometer (AMS)

Aerosol chemical composition

Chemical Ionization Mass Spectrometer (CIMS)

Aerosol chemical composition


Carbon Monoxide

Dusttrak DRX 8543

Particulate matter

Shredded Scotch broom to help fuel Harmac pulp mill – Times Colonist

If we are going to get forced by our legislators to have biomass plants, (which is now becoming doubtful given the latest feedback from the new PT Mill manager who said in his first interview that the economics of it was shifting and there was no guarantee that they would build the plant),  here’s a use for the new biomass plants that we can all get behind.

The City of Nanaimo has found a use for Scotch broom. The noxious weed will be shredded and burned as hog fuel to power the Harmac pulp mill near Nanaimo. This year for the first time, the city helped members of the public control the noxious weed by putting collection bins at three locations in May. Enough broom was collected to more than fill a five-ton truck. It was shredded Thursday at a ceremonial “burning of the broom” event at the fire-training yard on Labieux Road. Darrell Belaart reports.


Biomass meet in Sequim draws a crowd of protesters–PDN

The battle over whether the biomass experiments at Port Angeles and Port Townsend continue to generate a lot of controversy. These experimental plants, and that’s how the legislature defined them in the law that authorized them in 2005/06, are going to be with us a long time, and will affect our air. The problem is, no one really knows how, and the State is fast tracking these plants with little concern for what happens once they are in and we have to breath their particulate. That the public has to fight to get any decent monitoring in, is indicative of how blind our state representatives have been on this.  It’s all about jobs jobs jobs.

A plan to place four temporary air-quality monitors in Port Angeles and Sequim in 2013 and monitors in Port Townsend in 2014 doesn’t go far enough, according to many at a packed Olympic Region Clean Air Agency board meeting in Sequim. Many among the more than two dozen Port Angeles, Sequim and Port Townsend residents who gave maximum-three-minute comments at the meeting Monday night were concerned about biomass expansion projects under construction in Port Angeles and Port Townsend. Paul Gottlieb reports.


Five Groups Continue Appeal, Demand Environmental Information from Port Townsend Paper Corporation

Port Townsend, WA – Standing firm with their demand that Port Townsend Paper prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) regarding its biomass incinerator, five public interest groups filed suit with the Washington State Court of Appeals this week. The suit is in response to a decision handed down by the Superior Court in Thurston County on April 10, 2012, that said further environmental review of the project is unnecessary.

The groups, No Biomass Burn, Olympic Environmental Council, Olympic Forest Coalition, PT Airwatchers and the World Temperate Rainforest Network, represent a broad spectrum of concerns about human health, clean air, the health of our forests, rivers and ocean.

"On the surface, biomass power generation might look like a good thing. But as is often the case with complex proposals like this, it takes more than one look. We are finding the harms that this project may inflict on the area are significant enough that we have no choice but to move forward," said Pat Rasmussen, Coordinator of the World Temperate Rainforest Network. "It’s shocking that the Department of Ecology would allow a multi-million dollar project with such broad ranging effects to proceed with no Environmental Impact Statement.

“Without a complete EIS, how can anyone, including Ecology, begin to evaluate what burning more than double the present amount of forest biomass, along with construction and demolition debris, will do to the air quality around Port Townsend and the communities downwind?”

Burning construction debris is of particular concern because it can be contaminated with plastics, heavy metals, cements, adhesives, petroleum oils and greases, creating a complex mix of air pollutants that changes over time.

"It is irresponsible to the community to allow the project to be built without a clear understanding of what it will do to our health, our forests, our roads, our waters," added Gretchen Brewer of PT AirWatchers.

To illustrate, Brewer cites more than doubling of ultrafine particulates that often lead to increased asthma, heart attacks and strokes in an already compromised community, over 400,000 green tons of woody fuel per year that must come from somewhere, an added 13-17,000 diesel truck trips per year on Highways 19 & 20 into town, and increased acidification of marine waters due to 300,000 more tons of CO2 emitted into the air.

"These are serious issues that need to be addressed."

Ruth Apter, who is studying the effects of CO2 on local shellfish populations, observes, "Increased burning means thousands more tons of climate-altering CO2 will be released into the atmosphere, when ocean waters have absorbed so much already that our native oysters are nearly wiped out."

A hearing date for the appeal has not yet been set.

Nippon’s final hurdle for its cogeneration boiler project: – PDN & others

Nippon’s final hurdle for its cogeneration boiler project:

Air permit hearing Tuesday http://peninsuladailynews.com/article/20110515/news/305159983/nippon-8217-s-final-hurdle-for-its-cogeneration-boiler-project-air

The PDN apparently did not mention that Tuesday’s hearing may be our last chance to say anything about Nippon’s plans.

If you can’t come to the hearing (6 pm at the Port Angeles Library)you can comment on line and tell ORCA (Olympic Regional Clean Air Agency) why you oppose biomass pollution. Submit comments on line by May 17, before the hearing begins at 6 pm, to: http://www.orcaa.org/public-involvement/staff-recommendations/#nippon

Thanks. Diana Diana Somerville Freelance Writer & Editor Environment * Health * Science

Mason County Biomass plant suspended by owners

Just in, from the Mason County Daily News. ADAGE pulling out of Mason county…

Two views on future of biomass

The battle over biomass promise vs. reality continued last week, moving to Olympia … in my opinion, it seems better for the environment to be burning natural gas than wood waste..And then there’s that pesky bill that would put the decision to approve biomass sites into the hands of an unelected state commission. A recipe for manipulation by the biomass industry, it seems to me.

2/3 Olympian
Two views on future of biomass
JOHN DODGE; Staff writer

The Thurston County moratorium on new biomass-energy projects drew both criticism and praise Wednesday, from the county courthouse to the state Capitol.

Officials from The Evergreen State College met with the county commissioners in the morning, calling for an exemption from the moratorium so the college can use wood waste rather than natural gas to heat the campus.

More at


For Immediate Release 22 January 2011


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is awarding $25 million to the Health Effects Institute to develop the tools and scientific information to address combined effects of air pollution on humans and the environment.

“This underscores the need for more scientific information on the effects of air pollution from sources like biomass incinerators on people’s health as well as on climate change,” said Diana Somerville, a science writer concerned about the need for reliable information about the impacts of biomass incinerators.

She notes an American Lung Association position statement that says, “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.”

Nanoparticles, microscopic specks so tiny that hundreds equal the width of a human hair, are emitted by high temperature biomass burning. Nanoparticles, a tenth of a micron or less, present new challenges to human health. Slipping through all the body’s defense mechanisms, nanoparticles cross the placenta and blood-brain barriers.

Their health impact aren’t limited to individuals with pre-existing conditions. Children may be especially vulnerable.

Toxic nanoparticles from incineration carry poisons to every part of the body. Special medical treatments use nanoparticles to slip drugs past the body’s immune system.

Across Washington state, as many as 15 more wood-burning biomass incinerators are in various stages of the permitting process, according to the Department of Ecology.

“Risks to human health — and to our living, breathing ecosystems upon which our lives and livelihoods depend — are being trivialized, politicized or dismissed,” says Shirley Nixon with the Center for Environmental Law and Policy.

Biomass in Port Angeles and Port Townsend also means increased diesel emissions, from trucks hauling wood from the forests to fuel the shoreline incinerators and then haul away the ash.

Even short exposures can prove deadly for people with asthma, chronic respiratory problems or cardiovascular disease, health experts note.

“Powerful industries and wealthy special interest groups command the biggest megaphones to spew inaccurate and misleading information,” says Gretchen Brewer with Port Townsend Air Watchers.

“Legislators, environmental enforcement groups and ordinary citizens are being told that biomass is a panacea, yielding everything from jobs to jet fuel.“

“The location of Nippon’s plant – on the edge of a city, upwind from the largest population in the county – would not normally be allowed, because it poses serious health questions,” notes energy consultant Bob Lynette. “The Nippon plant’s site ensures that almost all the pollution goes over Port Angeles, Sequim, and the area in between – reaching the largest possible number of Clallam County residents.”

As people wake up to the health hazards of biomass incinerators and question what happens to vast areas of forests stripped clean, opposition is growing.

In Washington, Thurston County Commissioners passed a 12-month moratorium on biomass plants becoming the first county in the nation willing to demand time to gather the latest scientific information. This moratorium is supported by the state chapter of the Sierra Club as well as the Thurston – Mason County Medical Society.

Seven conservation groups have taken legal action to dispute the electrical plant that Nippon Paper wants to build on the Port Angeles shoreline:

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.

“Once people learn about the health issues and discover there are big environmental questions, they ask, ‘What can we do?’” says Somerville, who is acting as the spokesperson for the coalition.

Some suggestions: Check the facts for yourself. Make your voice heard. Tell friends and neighbors and co-workers. Call and write your legislators. Join with others, like PT Airwatchers and the Concerned Citizens of Thurston County.

Many other questions remain: Can we find ways to quantify the value of human health, instead of the cost of sickness? Can we measure the value of keeping the trees in our forests, where they store carbon, clean the air and serve as the lungs for our planet? Can we meet our energy needs without endangering fish, shellfish and our precious waters? Can the people in our communities find creative ways to sustain local economies and create meaningful jobs with decent wages?

Let’s remember the old saying, “Act in haste, repent in leisure.” Washington citizens need time to find all kinds of answers. Our children and grandchildren will be living with them for a long, long time.

– 30 –


Diana Somerville



Attached: EPA News Release


Latisha Petteway (News Media Only)

Dale Kemery (News Media Only)

January 21, 2011

EPA Awards $25 Million to Improve Air Quality 

WASHINGTON – Over the course of five years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is awarding $25 million to the Health Effects Institute (HEI) to help address the latest challenges to improving air quality and protecting health.  With the funding, HEI will develop the next generation of tools and scientific information to examine the combined effects of air pollution exposures on people’s health and the relationship between air quality and climate change.

“This grant continues a long and fruitful partnership to address air quality issues,” said Dr. Paul Anastas, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Research and Development.  “The scientific contributions by HEI complement and augment EPA’s extensive clean air research program, which is providing the critical science needed to improve air quality.”

Over the past 30 years, the partnership has made significant contributions to protecting health from air pollution. HEI has funded more than 250 studies in North America, Europe, and Asia that have:

  • produced important research on the effects of particulate matter
  • initiated new research to track health outcomes of air quality improvements
  • conducted special scientific reviews on air toxics from mobile sources

HEI is an independent, non-profit research organization that provides impartial science to help address air quality problems in the nation. Established in 1980, HEI receives joint funding from EPA and the motor vehicle industry. The partnership has produced critical research thatis often used in important EPA
decision-making processes.

More information on the clean air research program:  http://www.epa.gov/airscience

More information on HEI:  http://cfpub.epa.gov/ncer_abstracts/index.cfm/fuseaction/outlinks.centers/center/101


Appeal filed against Nippon biomass plan – PDN

1/20 Peninsula Daily News
State appeal filed against Nippon biomass plan; foes await summer hearing on Port Townsend mill biomass upgrade
By Tom Callis
Peninsula Daily News

The second round of appeals for a biomass energy project in Port Angeles has begun, while opponents await a separate state hearing on an appeal filed in November against a biomass project proposed in Port Townsend.

Six of the seven environmental groups that lost an appeal of the shoreline substantial development permit that the city of Port Angeles gave Nippon Paper Industries USA are taking their case to the state Shoreline Hearings Board.

More at


Biomass clear of EPA rules for 3 years

Ed: I am looking into who in our delegation was petitioning the EPA to do this, and apparently Representative Van De Wege and Lynn Kessler were part of the group that asked for this. There appears to be a backstory here, and I’m contacting some individuals who gave them the technical reasons to ask for the deferal. More to follow as the week progresses.

1/17 Peninsula Daily News – Biomass clear of EPA rules for now as agency defers action for 3 years for analysis
By Tom Callis
Peninsula Daily News

Wood-burning facilities will not be regulated under the Environmental Protection Agency’s new greenhouse gas regulations that went into effect earlier this month, the federal agency announced last week.

EPA said it will defer further action on the matter for three years while it analyzes whether the burning of wood waste to produce electricity, among other uses, can really be considered “green.”

The move came after proponents of biomass energy, including Washington state officials and some members of Congress, protested the inclusion of biomass projects under the new regulations.

More at

Town in Sweden uses biomass and more

While the Peninsula gets into a huge debate with lawsuits, over using wood waste for energy, a town in Sweden adopts to it, adds methane generators and other methods to ween itself off petroleum.  Isn’t it time we put all the pieces together and think outside the box about what can be accomplished rather than what can’t? This article shows that there is a way forward, and that the wood waste might be part of the solution.  The problem is that the process to get a community  consensus is not transparent enough. It generates lawsuits, rather than solutions.

KRISTIANSTAD, Sweden — When this city vowed a decade ago to wean itself from fossil fuels, it was a lofty aspiration, like zero deaths from traffic accidents or the elimination of childhood obesity.

As part of its citywide system, Kristianstad burns wood waste like tree prunings and scraps from flooring factories to power an underground district heating grid.


Port Angeles sets hearing for challenge to proposed Biomass Incinerator

December 2, 2010Contacts:
Rachael Paschal Osborn (CELP) – 509-954-5641
Diana Somerville – 360-452-1212
Darlene Schanfald (Olympic Environmental Council) – 360-681-7565

Port Angeles sets hearing for challenge to proposed Biomass Incinerator

Protecting Elwha River flows, human and environmental health prompt conservationists to challenge City decision

LINK:  Conservationists’ Opening Legal Brief

WHO:  A coalition of seven conservation groups — the Cascade Chapter of the Sierra Club, 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

WHAT:  The conservation groups are challenging a decision by the City of Port Angeles to permit Nippon Paper Company to build a biomass (co-generation) incinerator at its plant on the shoreline of the Port Angeles harbor, just north of Olympic National Park.

WHEN:  Monday, December 6 at 6:00 pm

WHERE:  City Council Chambers,  321 East 5th Street, Port Angeles, Wash. 98362

WHY:  The coalition members appealed the City’s permit decision because they have multiple concerns about the impacts of the proposed project, including:
Drawing millions of gallons of water every day from the Elwha River that flows from Olympia National Park.  The nation’s largest dam removal project is about to begin to restore salmon runs.  The permit for the Nippon plant would divert water from the Elwha River, endangering salmon runs and undoing the purpose of the dam removal.
Threatening the sustainability of forest ecosystems.
Increasing air and water pollution that will impact people, wildlife, and aquatic life in fresh and salt waters.
Negatively impacting public access to and enjoyment of the shoreline and popular Waterfront Trail.
Adding more carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from the proposed plant and associated truck traffic.

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

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