Tag Archives: ADM

Update: Chemical smell, schools, and industry on Clay Road

Maybe ask the company that adopted Clay Road? Response yesterday from the EMA Lowndes facebook page:

Hi, as a point of clarification emergency personnel responded to reports of an odor; however, after thorough investigation no evidence of a chemical leak or release could be identified or confirmed. As a precaution, the Board of Education property was accessed by responders. No evidence of contamination was present. A follow up visit to the area later this morning reports the odor was no longer present.

Thank you, EMA Lowndes, for responding, and on a weekend, too.

However, people couldn’t get home that night.

ADM Adopt-A-Street, From Howell Road
Adopt-A-Street ADM, Clay Road north from Howell Road google street view.

I still think it would be good to check with nearby industry. Maybe start with Continue reading

Videos of pro and con biomass speakers at VBOE

Karen Noll took these videos at the 29 September 2010 meeting of the Valdosta Board of Education (VBOE). Much more about that meeting here.

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Dr. Gretchen Bielmyer speaking against the biomass plant.
Dr. Brad Bergstrom speaking against the biomass plant.
Brad Lofton and Allan Ricketts speaking for the Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority (VLCIA) and the biomass plant.

Biomass Rezoning Minutes, County Commission, 9 June 2009

In the message from Prof. Manning, he says
I did address the county commission on this topic over a year ago – in a public forum at a scheduled meeting.
He provided no date nor link, but since this is the only Commission meeting minutes for which I can find his name, I’m guessing this is the one he meant. I’ve quoted here the relevant item, and I’ve added paragraph breaks to it to make finding individual speakers’ names easier. See also the VDT writeup. I would like to ask people, especially academics, who want to cite sources to actually cite them, not allude to them by some vague description.

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LOWNDES COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MINUTES
Regular Session
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
COMMISSIONERS PRESENT
Chairman Ashley Paulk
Vice Chairperson Joyce E. Evans
Commissioner Richard C. Lee
Commissioner G. Robert Carter
Chairman Paulk called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m.

[…]

REZ-2009-05 Wiregrass Power, LLC, 2637 Old Statenville Hwy, 0164 025. 22.1 ac., E-A to I-S,

County Planner, Jason Davenport, presented the item, stating that both the Planning Commission and TRC recommended approval with conditions.

Chairman Paulk asked those in attendance to be patient with the Commission as the item was considered, since it was an issue that many in attendance may want to speak.

Dr. Michael Noll, 2305 Glynndale Drive, spoke against the request and presented the Commission with a list of questions prepared by himself, Dr. Brad Bergstrom and Mr. Seth Gunning.

Mr. Fred Deloach III, 1411 New Statenville Highway, addressed the Commission requesting that tires and coal be added to the list of prohibited fuel items.

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Thomas J. Manning Responds

Brad Lofton sent me this today.

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From: “Brad Lofton”
Date: Thu, 30 Sep 2010 11:54:58 -0400

John:

Thank you for providing my correspondence on your blog. Here is an e-mail below from VSU professor Tom Manning who has experience in biomass research and instruction. He has supported our project enthusiastically from the beginning. I would appreciate you including this as well.

Regards,

BL

From: Thomas J Manning [mailto:tmanning@valdosta.edu]
Sent: Thursday, September 30, 2010 11:37 AM
To: ‘Bradley J Bergstrom’
Cc: ‘ReplyTo:’; ‘Cc: Allan Ricketts’
Subject: FW: Thank you to the Valdosta Board of Education

Dr. Bergstrom,

I believe you are playing a game of semantics with your disparaging argument concerning my qualifications (quote below). Some key points:

1. I did address the county commission on this topic over a year ago – in a public forum at a scheduled meeting.
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Joy Towles Ezell: Florida Sierra Club biomass policy

A Sierra Club reply to Brad Lofton, copied to the Valdosta Board of Education and others.

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From: Joy Towles Ezell
Date: Wed, 29 Sep 2010 20:27:54 -0700 (PDT)

As the former Conservation Chair and the former Energy Chair of the Florida Chapter of the Sierra Club, and as the former Energy Chair of the Big Bend Group of the Florida Chapter, I must “set the record straight”. Today’s National Sierra Club policy is not as strong as the Florida Chapter’s policy was against burning biomass. I can speak only to Florida’s SC policy, so I submit to you the policies of the Florida Chapter and the Big Bend Group concerning the burning of biomass during my tenure, with our press release concerning the now defeated biomass plant in Tallahassee:

The < ?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Florida Chapter Policies were also published, in part, in The Pelican, Spring 2004, the official Florida Chapter newsletter.< ?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

Here is the Chapter policy on ‘biomass.’

Florida Chapter Sierra Club policy opposes biomass production:

“We continue to oppose the development of biomass production as an
alternative to solar and wind power. Biomass production depletes the
environment by decreasing topsoil, using more water, fertilizer and
diesel fuel than it is worth and creates more pollution.”
Page 8. http://florida.sierraclub.org/Pelican/spring04.pdf


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Brad Bergstrom: “unnecessary and very sad”

A reply to Brad Lofton and Michael Noll, copied to the Valdosta Board of Education and others.

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Date: Wed, 29 Sep 2010 21:25:37 -0400

As Dr. Noll said, you do indeed have a reading comprehension problem, Mr. Lofton.  I most decidedly did not "discredit" my colleague; I said his opinion was just as valid as mine.  I discredited you, sir!  I replied to your, frankly, absurb misstatements with some documented facts, even the statistics made publicly available by the EPD.  And once again you respond with nothing but more unsubstantiated assertions.

As to your insinuations of my alleged "unilateral" opposition to some unnamed industry, I have no idea what you're talking about.  I think you are grasping at straws.  Your unsubstantiated assertions have now strayed into personal accusations and rumor mongering.  That’s completely unnecessary and very sad.

Brad Bergstrom

Michael Noll: “from the Sierra Club directly”

This message from Michael Noll was sent to the Valdosta Board of Education, among others. The interjections in square brackets [] where there when I received it.

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Date: Wed, 29 Sep 2010 20:41:26 -0400

Mr. Lofton.

Although your email seems to be addressed to Dr. Bergstrom, the nonsense in it warrants a short reply, before I will go home and enjoy an evening meal:

1) I am not sure how you did in terms of reading comprehension in school, but the fact is Dr. Bergstrom wrote:

"… even those groups that jumped on the biomass bandwagon early–like Sierra Club–are having serious second thoughts."
To further elaborate, let me share some comments I got from the Sierra Club directly in response to an email I sent to inquire about their position on biomass:
"The [Sierra] Club absolutely opposes all combustion of Municipal Waste, sorted or not [referring to the burning of sewage sludge in the proposed biomass incinerator] …. We believe that biomass projects can be sustainable, but that many biomass projects are not. We are not confident that massive new biomass energy resources are available without risking soil and forest health, given the lack of commitment by governments and industry to preservation, restoration, and conservation of natural resources …. Biomass incineration advocates [like yourself Mr. Lofton] have been misrepresenting the [Sierra] Club for a long time on this." (Ned Ford, Sierra Club, Chair of the Energy Technical Advisory Committee, August 18, 2010.
In other words, your project does NOT have the (automatic) support

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Brad Lofton: “simply walk down the hall”

This message from Brad Lofton was sent to Dr. Brad Bergstrom and the Valdosta Board of Education and some other people.

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Dr. Bergstrom-

As opposed to spending hours online and pouring through publication databases, I would respectfully recommend that you simply walk down the hall to actually discuss Dr. Tom Manning’s experience with Dr. Tom Manning. He’s in the same building with you I assume. No doubt on the same campus. Seems odd that you would publicly discredit a colleague here prior to even talking with him. Dr. Manning’s credentials certainly do not need your validation.

Thank you for finally acknowledging the Sierra Club and all of the other environmental support we have. You are the first to acknowledge it publicly. Our support goes well beyond the Sierra Club, and we provided the Board of Ed with dozens of nationally known environmental leaders who support our project.

If you would be so kind, please meet with us again, and we will provide you actual numbers

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Brad Bergstrom: “unsubstantiated assertions are not facts”

This message from Brad Bergstrom to the Valdosta Board of Education is as he sent it, except instead of his blue font I’ve formatted quotations the same as usual for the blog, and as usual I’ve not included the entire list of email addresses copied. He’s responding to Brad Lofton’s message.

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To all:

I appreciate the opportunity Monday night to have briefly shared my perspective on the environmental impacts of biomass incineration with the BOE. It was at the urging of the "core group" (whom Mr. Lofton seems to disparage, below) that VBOE invited me and my coleague Dr. Bielmyer to speak. As an ecologist and VSU professor for more than 24 years, I’ve long been interested in issues of conservation, forest resources and sustainable development in south Georgia. About a year-and-a-half ago, I met with Mr. Ricketts, who kindly gave me and Mr. Seth Gunning a thorough presentation on the proposed biomass plant. Ever since then, I’ve been educating myself on the general issue of biomass power generation and specifically on the Wiregrass plant. I attended the April 2010 public hearing (as did Mr. Ricketts and Mr. Lofton) conducted by EPD, and I asked several questions. I also submitted several written questions and comments to EPD for the public record, as did many others. All of those questions, and EPD’s answers, and the complete application, and permit, can be seen here:

http://airpermit.dnr.state.ga.us/gaairpermits/

(After you open this link, type "Wiregrass" into the search box, then click on "Narrative"; the last 13 pages contain all the public comments and responses.)

I’m sure Mr. Lofton is a well-meaning and certainly a tireless advocate for new industry. That is his job. It is the rest of our jobs to determine what really is "fact" and "opinion." No matter how loudly one proclaims it, unsubstantiated assertions are not facts, and inconvenient facts are not misinformation. I will point out some of these facts, along with links to document them, in blue font, interspersed among Mr. Lofton’s comments, below.

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‘if Mrs. Noll and any of her “experts” would actually meet with us’

Since the appended message was sent to a publicly elected board chartered by the state of Georgia, that makes it subject to Georgia’s open records law, so I am publishing it here.

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From: Brad Lofton
Sent: Tuesday, September 28, 2010 12:52 PM
To: Karen Ruff Noll, [and Valdosta Board of Education members]
Cc: Allan Ricketts; gkbielmyer@valdosta.edu; bergstrm@valdosta.edu
Subject: Re: Thank you to the Valdosta Board of Education

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen:

We were honored last night to provide you an update on a project that enjoys so much support from environmental groups all across America, and we are thankful for your invitation and partnership. Mrs. Noll won’t admit that no governmental group or environmental group in this country that is charged with setting environmental policy is opposed to our project. Not one. In fact, they collectively point to biomass as the way forward for our country, where nearly 45 percent of our existing renewable energy portfolio is biomass. We were prepared last night to go into specific details regarding the air permit and provide the actual facts for you as opposed to the continued misinformation you are receiving from this core group. We ran out of time and apologize for the length. Please let us know when and where we can have that discussion. Our plant will be carbon neutral, with a mercury level that is so low it’s considered statistically insignificant by EPD. There is a dramatic difference between what the state and federal law allows under a statutory air permit and what our plant actually produces. This group is stating the “permitted” allowances despite the fact that the actual emissions are a very small fraction of that. Again, if Mrs. Noll and any of her “experts” would actually meet with us, we would explain that.

Rest assured that this is a safe, green, renewable energy plant

that has been vetted by scores of environmentalists, all the major universities in Georgia (including Dr. Tom Manning, a biomass researcher at VSU), and approved by every level of government. If Mrs. Noll has further concerns, I would recommend her talking to President Obama, the U.S. Dept of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Energy, the Federal Environmental Protection Agency, the state EPD, the Sierra Club, the World Wildlife Federation, the state of Georgia’s Center of Innovation for Renewable Energy, GA Tech, UGA, the Valdosta Daily Times (who support us), and scores of others who support us.

We will not participate in a back and forth with this group. We’ll be happy to meet with any of you in person to provide additional information and facts. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but not the facts. Thanks so much for what each of you do for our community, and it’s an honor to serve you.

Regards,

Brad

Sent from my BlackBerry Smartphone provided by Verizon