Tag Archives: particulates

VSU Faculty Senate passes anti-biomass resolution

Karen Noll reported on WACE’s facebook page that the VSU Faculty Senate passed a resolution Thursday 19 May 2011 that biomass will not be considered renewable for VSU’s climate commitment goal.

Why? Because leading medical associations have identified woody biomass incineration as increasing risks of “a variety of illnesses, some life-threatening”, because biomass incineration produces more CO2, NOX, and fine particulates than existing coal plants, and because it “may lead to unsustainable forestry practices and a net increase in global greenhouse gas emissions”.

Who proposed this? Continue reading

Want to be like Atlanta?

I ran across some interesting information at The American Lung Association web site about the state of air quality.

There were several things that jumped out at me right away.

  • First, Lowndes County doesn’t even have a device for monitoring ozone levels. We need to get one.
  • Second, on particulate emissions, Lowndes County gets a “B”. Fulton County gets an “F”, Dekalb gets an “F”, Cobb gets “D” and Clayton gets “C”. Horrifyingly, Douglas, Fayette, Henry and Rockdale Counties don’t even have particulate monitors.
  • Third, over one third of the population of Lowndes County falls into the two vulnerable categories of “Over 65” or “Under 18”.

Do the leaders of our area really want us to be like the Atlanta area? Do we want to poison our children, our parents and our grandparents with dirty air? Dirty air leads to both lung and cardiovascular disease.

What are a few of things we could do to keep our air clean?

  • We could transition to clean energy sources like solar.
  • We could develop public transportation.
  • We could become active in our community and attend public meetings to let our leaders know what issues are important to us and that we want to be involved in decisions regarding development, industry and environmental stewardship.

-Gretchen

No Adage biomass plant in Hamilton County, Florida

According to Power-Gen Worldwide, Plans for biomass power plant ends:
The company still has a permit to build a 55 MW plant in Florida but there are no plans to start construction and the company is expected to let the permit lapse in June. Adage ended plans in 2010 to build another plant in Florida.

Why is Adage giving up on Hamilton County, Florida? Christopher Dunagan writes in Kitsap Sun:

Meanwhile, a similar project by Adage in Northern Florida also will not be pursued at this time, according to DePonty. That project has been fully permitted and was about to move ahead if only the electricity market had provided the financial incentive, he said.
Here’s the Florida air permit. Despite having that air permit and promising jobs, jobs, jobs Adage is apparently not going to build in Hamilton, County, Florida.

The source of the many stories on this appears to be Continue reading

Harrisburg, PA loses solvency and trust over incinerator

Michael Cooper wrote in the New York Times on 20 May 2010 about An Incinerator Becomes Harrisburg’s Money Pit:
HARRISBURG, Pa. — Officials here decided seven years ago to borrow $125 million to rebuild and expand the city’s enormous trash incinerator, which the federal government had shut down because of toxic air pollution.

But the incinerator burned through the money faster than the trash, leaving Harrisburg residents feeling like they were living through a sequel to the 1986 movie “The Money Pit.”

There were contractor troubles, delays, cost overruns and squabbles. The city borrowed tens of millions more, shoveling good money after bad into the job.

The Patriot-News Editorial Board wrote on 12 April 2010 about Harrisburg incinerator fiasco deserves an investigation to understand how it happened:
Over nearly a decade, officials at the Harrisburg Authority and City Hall made a series of decisions that sought to get the trash incinerator working and profitable, but which instead brought Pennsylvania’s capital to the brink of bankruptcy.

The 2003 deal that took on $125 million in debt to repair the incinerator neglected to include a performance bond.

Inexperienced firms were hired. Fees were paid for work poorly done. Loans were taken on disastrous terms.

Officials were aided, or rather misled, by the advice of numerous attorneys, bankers and engineers apparently far more interested in collecting handsome fees than they were in protecting the interests of taxpayers.

As a result, there is a deep distrust of the fundamental institutions that created this fiasco.

Something else sounds familiar about this situation:
While some of the seats have changed, many of the same people in government today had their fingerprints on these decisions.
It’s the same old boy network locally as approved Sterling Chemical, and the chair of the county commission at that time is now on the Industrial Authority. And the VLCIA has taken on what is reputed to be a $15 million bond issue.

How big is Harrisburg? 50,000 people, same as Valdosta. What is Harrisburg considering? Bankruptcy. Who profited anyway? Local developers.

What’s the moral?

All of the guarantees proved worthless.

All of the fail-safes failed.

What say we have the investigation now, before the fail-safes fail?

-jsq

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.

-jsq

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.

Michael Noll: “enough is enough”

Here is a followup to the VDT story in the previous post.

-jsq

Dear Lowndes County Commissioners.

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 household.

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.

To substantiate the comments I made yesterday,

Continue reading

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.

-jsq

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.

Continue reading

Thomas J. Manning Responds

Brad Lofton sent me this today.

-jsq

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.
Continue reading

Joy Towles Ezell: Florida Sierra Club biomass policy

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

-jsq

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


Continue reading

Brad Bergstrom: “unnecessary and very sad”

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

-jsq

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