My sincere thanks for letting me present my concerns at yesterday’s
meeting. It is very much appreciated.
Please understand that what I presented is based on facts. I have
worked for ten years at VSU as an educator, and my students and
colleagues know me as a straightforward person. I may ruffle some
feathers at times, but I clearly was brought up in a no-nonsense
If Mr. Lofton would not continue to ignore our concerns (as he again
did at the BOE meeting), to misrepresent organizations such as the
Sierra Club (an organization I happen to support), or to keep
bringing up names of those who endorse the biomass plant (yet
conveniently overlooks a conflict of interest), I probably would
have never brought this up. However, during these past couple weeks,
and particularly with his behavior at the BOE meeting, Mr. Lofton
has added insult to injury, and enough is enough.
Michael Noll has offered this letter to anyone who wants to publish it:
This is an open letter with a few questions for the Industrial Authority on the proposed biomass incinerator. Simple answers will do, as we have heard enough confusing verbiage by now:
1. Isn’t it correct that annually the proposed biomass incinerator will emit 247 tons of sulfur dioxide (SO2), 247 tons of nitrogen oxide (NOx), 247 tons of carbon monoxide (CO), 135 tons of particulate matter (PM), 113 tons of PM10, 87 tons of PM2.5, 60 tons of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and 14 tons of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs)?
2. Isn’t it true that the American Lung Association states that pollutants such as NOx, SO2, and PM can have “severe impacts on the health of children, older adults, and people with lung disease”?
3. Isn’t it correct that the “baghouse filtration technology” in connection with the proposed incinerator cannot capture PM10 (particulate matter smaller than 10 microns) much less PM2.5 (particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns)?
A video of
a hearing about the biomass plant Wiregrass Power LLC proposes
to build in Lowndes County just outside of Valdosta was held
in Valdosta on 27 April 2010
by the Air Protection Branch (APD)
of the Environmental Protection Division (EPD) of the Georgia
Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
Eric Cornwell of APD explains location,
process flow, and specific items
covered by the permit (soot, SO2, NOX, CO, VOC, HCL, etc., but not
He remarks that Wiregrass Power LLC is building a small plant with a
“lower emission limit in order to avoid some of the red tape”
by getting a minor permit instead of a major permit.
The first half hour concludes with Bob Turner, the plant manager,
presenting similar material, ending with:
“No new carbon is added to the atmosphere when burning woody byproducts.”
When compared to coal, per megawatt, this burning [biomass and the like] emits 1.5 times the carbon dioxide (CO2), 1.5 times the carbon monoxide (CO, a toxic air pollutant), and as much particulate matter.
Georgia already has the country’s dirtiest coal plant, at Juliette, near Macon.
Do we need still more CO2?
the Wiregrass biomass plant planned for Valdosta is somehow more efficient than the one
If so, it would be good to hear about that; I don’t recall the topic coming up
at the Lowndes County Commission meeting in which this plant was approved.
Dr. Bussing elaborated in a recent letter:
The fallacy is in believing that plants take up all
CO2 emissions. In fact plants absorb some, the
ocean absorbs more (and as a consequence is
becoming more acidic by the year), but a
portion just stays and builds up in the
atmosphere. That buildup is associated with
global warming, and it doesn’t matter if the
CO2 comes from coal, gas or biomass.