Perspectives on Biomass Permit

This is Karen Noll’s LTE to the VDT as sent on 12 Aug 2010. It doesn’t seem to have ever turned up in the online version of the VDT, but here it is:
While certain entities see no negative environmental impact of the proposed biomass plant, the information and data that I have does not indicate that incineration of wood is efficient, environmentally sound, or safe for our citizens. Yet others see this as a win-win scenario claiming a vastly different perspective on the situation; economically, environmentally and in regard to the health of our citizens. Why is that?
I feel that our differing views of the issue are directly related to what we each gain from the proposed biomass plant. The lumber industry and Wiregrass have a great deal to gain. Not only would the plant produce power, but the lumber industry and Wiregrass would receive federal money to burn “biomass”. They’d burn a bit of unwanted sewage too. So, I have no doubt that they are very excited that the permit was approved.

While some see profits from the biomass plant, the typical resident gets very little. We will get a marked increase in heavy metals in our air. Covering an area well over a two mile radius from the plant known carcinogens will be emitted. Diminished air quality will give rise to increases in asthma, allergies, and respiratory ailments. Not mentioned in the permit process is the micro-particulate matter that is extremely dangerous to residents that breathe because it can pass the blood-brain barrier freely and transmit carcinogenic materials directly to the brain. The larger particulate matter also not discussed in the permit will be visible and unpleasant when it dusts plants, animals, houses and cars. In addition, vast quantities of water are needed for cooling. Since we do not have the necessary water, we’d use ‘grey’ water, which will contribute to the bad odor problem. Furthermore, the proposed plant would require fuel, which brings us to the 50 trucks traveling to the plant daily to deliver it, causing pollution, both noise and air, along the entire route. Those living near to the plant will find this rather disturbing if indeed the plant ran at full capacity.

Meanwhile the clean energy we the residents need will be created by a small solar plant that is proposed for land adjacent to the biomass plant.

From the resident’s perspective the proposed biomass plant is nothing but misery, but the solar plant is a great idea. We have vast amounts of solar energy in our region. Solar energy production does not pollute our air or water or require truck loads of fuel. Thus, instead of building a biomass plant, which is sure to reduce the quality of life for residents of our city, use the truly green energy source that we have plenty of – GO SOLAR!!!