“It is your responsibility to prove us wrong” –Dr. Noll to Mr. Lofton

Dr. Noll responds to Mr. Lofton’s email of 24 Dec 2010. -jsq
From: “Michael G. Noll”
To: “blofton@industrialauthority.com” <blofton@industrialauthority.com>, “Mary B. Gooding”, “Ricketts, Allan” <aricketts@industrialauthority.com>, “Copeland, Roy”, “‘John S. Quarterman'”, “Susan R. Wehling”, Kay Harris
Subject: RE: Wiregrass Power, LLC
Date: Fri, 24 Dec 2010 21:19:15 +0000

Hello Mr. Lofton.

You might remember that WACE handed out a “Myth vs. Fact” info sheet at the meeting. On it were clearly outlined major issues we have with your biomass project. I will only entertain the first three to refresh your memory, since they are the most important facts for our community:

  1. Fact: Biomass is dirtier than coal. This is not simply our “opinion” but based on data we received from the Georgia EPD in regard to PM, SO2 and NOx emissions. This simply verified what we already knew from similar inquiries by Dr. Sammons and others. You can verify this fact by contacting Mr. Eric Cornwell. I trust you know of him.
  2. Fact: Wiregrass Biomass LLC avoids best available technology (referred to as BACT and MACT), which you would have to deal with in connection with a major air permit. Thus, your comment on your “enormous efforts” in regard to protecting our community is yet another myth. We also gave an example for this on our sheet.
  3. Fact: Biomass incineration bears significant health risks. This is not only outlined by the recent letter WACE received from the ALA, but by studies throughout the country. If you carefully look on, I believe, page 8 of your application, you will see listed the hundreds of tons of pollutants your proposed biomass plant would spew out each year. Among them are such compounds as PM2.5 and NOx, all of which are unequivocally identified as a significant threat to the citizen’s health. You might not like that fact, but you can’t continue ignoring it. Again, this is not our “opinion” but based on scholarly research. Interestingly enough, your toxicologist did neither quantify the actual amount of pollutants coming out of the smoke stack of your plant in his presentation (because hundreds of tons don’t look good on a slide?), and likewise did nothing to provide proof that biomass is safe. “Assurances” or “statements” are not what we need at this time, only facts backed up by scholarly research will do.
As it relates to the existence of an “environmental impact analysis” (the nature of which seems to change like the quantity of dioxin. Is it pounds? Or ounces?): why don’t you share this environmental impact analysis with the whole group? Such an impact analysis would not only address the larger questions of air pollution and sustainability, but also focus on such matters as Mud Creek, water quality, etc. … and if it was done correctly draw from the experience/data of other regions in the US.

Likewise, it is time to share scholarly sources with the group that support your or Dr. Teaf’s claim that biomass is safe. You once made the statement that you are/were 1,000% certain about this, so I have to assume you have such sources readily available.

It should be apparent by now that the information you have provided these past three years to concerned citizens in our community has left many questions unanswered. You latest biomass panel did nothing to change that. Why? Because you keep avoiding answering important questions, or when you do answer them, can’t back up your answers with scholarly studies.

I am afraid to say that only until you were able to address these issues, and in particular the health risks associated with your proposed biomass plant, may we indeed work together on creating a truly clean and green future for our community. Based on the data we have presented, backed up by scientific studies, biomass is not part of our vision. Why? Because it wastes our tax dollars, it is dirtier than coal (including CO2 emissions), and, most importantly, it bears significant health risks.

It is your responsibility to prove us wrong (i.e. with the help of scientific studies which are up-to-date). Thus far you have not been able to do so.

Best regards, Michael G. Noll.

P.S.: In addition to the recent news that proposed biomass plants throughout the country are “put on ice” because of economic risks, we also saw the first moratorium on a biomass plant due to “environmental concerns” just a few days ago in Thurston County, Washington. Considering our situation here in Lowndes County, I would suggest to do the same … until we have finally gotten answers to our questions … or until we have simply realized that there are better alternatives for job creation that do not risk the health of our citizens! John Quarterman has done much to highlight this too!