Tag Archives: Tom Manning

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

Brad Lofton’s Selective Memory

I see by yesterday’s VDT story about the Lowndes County Board of Education (LCBOE) meeting that Brad Lofton, executive directory of the Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority (VLCIA), is reported as saying:
The people … that are opposing the plant … have yet to agree to sit down and talk with the authority directly about the plant.
He said somehing similar at the 29 Sep 2010 meeting of the Valdosta Board of Education (VBOE). Except then he at least admitted that I had gotten the VLCIA presentation. Yet even then he forgot about the other people in this picture of that 10 June 2010 meeting at the VLCIA offices:


Pictured: Natasha Fast, Angela Manning, Allan Ricketts (Project Manager), Geraldine Fairell, Ken Klanicki, Brad Lofton (Executive Director)

Even earlier, Dr. Brad Bergstrom and Seth Gunning got a presentation from the VLCIA.

I pointed all this out a month ago, after the VBOE incident.

Why does Brad Lofton, a public employee, keep standing up before elected bodies and saying something that is not true?

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Excuse me? Nobody but me had gotten a biomass presentation from VLCIA?

An open letter to Brad Lofton and Allan Ricketts,

Watching a video of your speeches to the Valdosta Board of Education (VBOE), I was astonished to see Brad Lofton say nobody in the room but me had sat down and gotten a presentation from VLCIA!

Brad Bergstrom has already reminded you that Bergstrom and Seth Gunning sat down with VLCIA months ago. I hope you weren’t failing to count Dr. Bergstrom because he wasn’t physically in the same room at the time you made that astonishing assertion.

And what about these people?

More here.

Sitting directly in front of Lofton in those pictures of that June 10th meeting in the VLCIA offices is Pastor Angela Manning.

I see later in the same video Allan Ricketts contradicts Brad Lofton by referring to that very meeting that I organized on June 10th. Yet one of Ricketts or Lofton (I can’t see which) at the very end of the video claims VLCIA answered every one of Pastor Manning’s concerns.

As I already pointed out directly to Brad Lofton before the VBOE meeting, listening to the VLCIA persuaded Pastor Manning to oppose the biomass plant, organizing a town hall at which numerous people spoke about the biomass plant, mostly against. In case there is any doubt as to Pastor Manning’s position on the biomass plant, she has since spelled it out in a letter directly to Brad Lofton:

“I stand with the NAACP, the SCLC, the American Lung Association, and any other group fighting against the bio mass plant.”

In my above message to Lofton, (sent, once again before the VBOE meeting) I listed four unanswered concerns from the June 10 meeting at VLCIA. He responded by ignoring half of them and inadequately answering two of them. When I pointed this out to him, he failed to answer any of them and asked for assistance in recruiting jobs. When I offered such assistance his whole response was:

“We’re moving forward with permits in hand. Have a nice day.”

All the messages cited in the preceding paragraph were exchanged before the VBOE meeting. Yet Lofton and Ricketts stood up before the VBOE and asserted all concerns had been answered. Is that how someone acts who is seriously trying to answer concerns of the community?

I do not appreciate Brad Lofton and Allan Ricketts using my name to support the misinformation they conveyed in their speeches to the Valdosta Board of Education.

When I first heard about this proposed biomass plant, I thought it was green energy. Attempts to obtain objective information about plant emissions and fuel sources for all the similar nearby plants, together with repeated presentations such as this from Brad Lofton and Allan Ricketts, have persuaded me and others to oppose the proposed biomass incinerator.

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John S. Quarterman

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.

Michael Noll: “enough is enough”

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

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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,

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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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