* Biomass Power Plants Pose Health Risk – Mass Medical Society

Read and learn more at the Biomass Monitor. Help to Keep Mecklenburg Incinerator Free.

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* Medical Doctors Brief Congress on Biomass Energy Health Hazards

After reading this, would you want to live near the proposed ReVenture Park incinerator? Do you want this in Mecklenburg County?

October 2, 2012 — Josh

- by Josh Schlossberg, The Biomass Monitor

Three medical doctors and a scientist presented the first-ever Congressional briefing on the health hazards of biomass incineration in the U.S. Congress in Washington, D.C. on September 25, 2012. The briefing was arranged and sponsored by Save America’s Forests and the presentations can be viewed online here.

Pediatricians William Sammons, M.D., of Massachusetts and Norma Kreilein, M.D., of Indiana, William Blackley, M.D. of North Carolina, and Rachel Smolker, Ph.D., co-director of Biofuelwatch, educated the attending staff of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives on the toxic air pollutants emitted from biomass incinerator smokestacks and their impacts on human health.

[Left to right]: Dr. Rachel Smolker, Carl Ross, Dr. William Blackley, Dr. Norma Kreilein

A flag has been planted,” said Carl Ross, who moderated the briefing and is executive director of Save America’s Forests, based in Washington, D.C. Until now, Ross explained, the only Congressional briefings on biomass incinerator energy had been given by members of the biomass industry itself. The briefing had a powerful impact on those present, according to Ross, some “gasping” at slides demonstrating that biomass incinerators emit air pollution similar to—and in many ways worse than—coal facilities, and can cause health problems that would increase with a national expansion of biomass energy.

The four presenters used the most recent science to demonstrate that biomass incinerators cannot produce “clean” energy, and their main recommendation to Congress was that the federal government stop subsidizing biomass incinerators.

 

Health Impacts of Pollution from Biomass Incinerators

In her presentation, Health Impacts of Pollution From Biomass Incinerators: Dirty Energy Comes From Smoke Stacks, Dr. Rachel Smolker of Biofuelwatch, an international organization based in the U.S. and U.K., gave an overview of the problems with biomass energy, explaining how dirty incineration competes with genuinely clean energy sources, such as solar power, under the guise of “green” energy. Unlike solar panels, Smolker explained, biomass incinerators “require ongoing fuel inputs and result in ongoing pollution outputs, that causes diseases, pain and suffering and raises health care costs.”

Smolker listed the air pollutants emitted from biomass incinerators, including particulate matter (PM), Nitrogen oxides (Nox), Sulfur dioxide (SO2), heavy metals (i.e. mercury and lead), Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), Carbon monoxide (CO), Hazardous Air Pollutants, and dioxins. Smolker provided data showing how biomass is not only the dirtiest form of so-called “renewable” energy, but can actually emit higher levels of particulate matter, Volatile Organic Compounds, and ammonia than a coal-fired plant, the dirtiest of fossil fuels.

Smolker informed the group that 80% of biomass incinerators in the U.S. have been cited for violations of air pollution laws. She also discussed how facilities produce wood ash at varying levels of toxicity, harboring such contaminants as dioxins, lead, zinc, cadmium and radioactive Cesium-137, with this ash often sold to farmers as a soil amendment.

 

Human Health Effects of Biomass Incinerators: Ultrafine Particles

Bill Sammons, MD, a pediatrician based in Williamstown, Massachusetts, presented Human Health Effects of Biomass Incinerators: Ultrafine Particles. Dr. Sammons has been traveling the country talking to communities, elected officials, and the media about the health hazards from burning biomass, while encouraging other health care professionals to join him in publicly voicing their concerns.

Dr. Sammons discussed the size differences of particulate matter (PM), including ultrafine PM 10— which are 10,000 times smaller than a millimeter—and PM 2.5 nanoparticles, which are 100,000 times smaller than a millimeter—and their formation. Sammons determined that existing PM regulations are “ineffective” and that biomass incineration “produces a higher number of particles emitted than any other fuel, including coal.”

Sammons insisted that “until the permitting process sets limits based on number of particles emitted, the population will continue to be at increased risk,” citing a 2010 study finding PM to be responsible for up to 17% of the decrease in U.S. life expectancy over the past twenty years.

The pediatrician revealed the limited effectiveness of incinerator pollution controls, such as electrostatic precipitators (ESPs), referring to studies demonstrating a “penetration window” for very small particles “where the collection efficiency can be as low as 70-80%.” Sammons referred to a compilation of North American data which showed a lack of a “discernible threshold below which PM post no health risk to the general population,” meaning any exposure to PM can be harmful.

Sammons referenced a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report stating that “the overall evidence is consistent with a causal relationship between PM 2.5 exposure and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality,” or heart attacks. Dr. Sammons warned that PM 2.5 and smaller are “not specifically regulated or accounted for in the permitting process,” citing a study demonstrating that short term increases in PM 2.5 levels kill tens of thousands of people in the U.S. every year.

Sammons concluded his presentation by listing the human health impacts of particulate exposure, including “lower birth weight and increased incidence of premature delivery,” a 300% increase in asthma, and a 20% decrease in lung function, similar to the effects of smoking.

 

A Pediatrician’s Perspective on Air Pollution and Children

Norma Kreilein, MD, Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, from Jasper, Indiana, presented A Pediatrician’s Perspective on Air Pollution and Children, with a Focus on Inflammation.

Dr. Kreilein related her experience working with children and infants suffering from lung disease, reminding those present that “each patient is a real person in a real family, not just a diagnosis, statistic, or cost liability.” Biomass incineration produces air pollution that “triggers inflammation,” explained Kreilein, and it this inflammation that is “responsible for disease.”

In the case of asthma, inflammation causes “airway swelling and more mucus, limiting air flow and clearance.” Kreilein identified particulate matter as a “potent inflammatory trigger,” posing a greater risk to children who spend more time outside than adults and who “breathe in more air pollutants per pound of body weight.”

Exposure to pollution over the long term can harm a “child’s developing body, especially lungs, brain, and immune system,” warned the pediatrician. Further, a child’s smaller size means inflammation of the lungs is “more significant to airflow and clearance.”

Dr. Kreilein discussed other conditions that could result from the inhalation of biomass incineration byproducts, including Squamous Metaplasia, which can be cured “only if trigger (pollution) is removed.” If not, she cautioned, the “next step is cancer.”

Inflammation

Dioxins Damage Children and Adults

William Blackley, MD, Fellow in the American Academy of Family Practice out of Piedmont, North Carolina concluded the briefing with his presentation, Dioxins Damage Children and Adults.

Dr. Blackley recounted how when a biomass incinerator was proposed for his town in 2008, developers promised “clean energy,” but a closer investigation revealed significant air pollution concerns. As soon as “physicians, citizens and leaders confronted this company about their toxic emissions and health risks,” said Blackley, “the company quietly slipped out of town.”

Dioxins, a byproduct of biomass incineration and other forms of combustion, are classified as Persistent Organic Pollutants and are one of the “most toxic chemicals known to man.” Dr. Blackley noted “international concern” with dioxin and cited a 2012 EPA report showing a “56% increase in dioxins from wood burning from 1987 to 2010.” Dioxins are problematic because they are “invisible and odorless,” they trigger “no warning signs of exposure or damage” to the human body, and “there’s no medical treatment to remove dioxins.” “

Almost all biomass contains chlorine,” explained Blackley, so when “hydrocarbons like trees, railroad ties, tires, poultry litter, grass, trash, garbage, etc. are burned in the presence of chlorine, dioxins are created.” Dioxins “exit the smokestack and settle on soil, in water and on leaves” and collect in biomass ash, which is often spread on agricultural fields as a soil amendment. Dioxins bio-accumulate, or increase in potency, in humans after consuming animal products laced with the toxic substance, such as beef, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products.

“Biomass electricity is expensive, especially when health care costs from resulting diseases are taken into consideration,” said Blackley, warning that “any level of dioxins increases the risk of cancer.” “The most toxic effect of dioxins is on the developing fetus, newborn and child,” according to Dr. Blackley, and that “a few parts per trillion of dioxin exposure can be enough to cause abnormal development.”

Health effects of dioxin exposure include, but are not limited to “premature delivery, reduced response to vaccinations, immune system suppression, reduced IQ, decrease[d] sperm quality and quantity, type II Diabetes,” hypertension, heart disease, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), and cancer. Blackley was skeptical about the effectiveness of smokestack pollution control devices, explaining that “the primary way to reduce dioxins is to not create any more of them.”

“Incentivizing biomass burning,” concluded the North Carolina physician, “is like paying businesses to build and light 300 foot cigarettes in American communities and to force everyone, including children, to breathe the secondhand smoke. “

Carl Ross said Save America’s Forests is planning to arrange future Congressional briefings on other harmful impacts of biomass incineration, in conjunction with grassroots allies around the country, including the Anti-Biomass Incineration Campaign. Topics may include exacerbation of climate change, cost of subsidies to the U.S. taxpayers, intensive use of limited freshwater reserves, U.S. and global deforestation and forest degradation, and environmental justice issues.

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* ReVenture Incinerator Plans Are Back – Keep Mecklenburg Incinerator Free

Just when you thought that it might be safe to breathe in western Mecklenburg County in the future, ReVenture now says that they want to resume plans to build an incinerator complex – TWO INCINERATORS!

John Downey, Senior Staff Writer for the Charlotte Business Journal, recently reported that ReVenture was ready to build its biomass incinerator in Mecklenburg County.

“Plans are back on for a biomass plant at the ReVenture Park, with developer Tom McKittrick building a 1.4-megawatt plant using technology developed by a Locust company. The plant is slated start producing power as soon as mid-January.”

“ReVenture already has signed a contract to sell municipal power supplier ElectriCities 60,000 poultry credits in 2013. That will be almost the entire output of the 1.4-megawatt plant.”

ReVenture had promised that their air permit for the site would be one of the most thoroughly reviewed permits and that there would be public hearings on the permit.

“With that contract in hand and with the plant’s air-quality permit already issued by Mecklenburg County, McKittrick says he hopes to start construction in December.”

For those that may have forgotten about the history of ReVenture, see the Sierra ClubReVenture Key Findings – Part II, Detail Comments on Each of the Key Findings Criteria of the Mecklenburg Solid Waste Management Advisory Board”.

“McKittrick’s ReVenture project has been largely out of the news since long negotiations to sell power and credits from a proposed biomass plant to Duke ended unsuccessfully in the spring. But in an interview Wednesday, he said work has continued on several projects proposed for the 667-acre clean-energy park, to be built on a former Superfund site along the Catawba River.”

Who would want to buy a home next to TWO INCINERATORS?

“ReVenture also has purchased 578 acres adjacent to the energy park to build an eco-friendly residential development.”

ReVenture had promised that they would make details of the project public. We’ve seen this over and over as ReVenture has changed their FUEL SOURCE and their TECHNOLOGY again and againReVenture Abandons “State-of-the-Art Incinerator Technology”.

“He declines to identify the N.C. company that developed the technology he intends to use in the 1.4-megawatt biomass plant.

ReVenture has changed their fuel source many times. Burning chicken waste is dirtier than burning coalReport: Air Pollution and Toxic Hazards Associated with Poultry Litter Incineration

In a separate filing of its own with the commission, Tucker says its project could process chicken waste into such a gas.

Read the full article at:

http://www.bizjournals.com/charlotte/print-edition/2012/08/24/reventure-ready-to-build-its-biomass.html?page=all

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* Greenpeace Trashes Biomass

Greenpeace Trashes Biomass

- by Josh Schlossberg

Nov. 2, 2011: Greenpeace Canada released a report condemning burning Canada’s forests for biomass electricity and biofuels. The report, “Fueling a Biomess: Why Burning Trees for Energy Will Harm People, the Climate, and Forests,” demonstrates how forest bioenergy is a step in the wrong direction for sound economic and environmental energy policy and “cannot and should not replace fossil fuels on a large-scale.”

The report debunks the “the illusion of carbon-neutrality,” cites air pollution concerns, and concludes that “electricity production from forest biomass is inefficient, while transforming trees into biofuels for transportation will mean impacting vast areas of forests.”

Greenpeace calls for the Canadian government to “suspend the approval of new bioenergy proposals and conduct a review of existing projects, their wood allocations, and their impacts on communities, climate and forests.”

Other Greenpeace demands include banning the logging and burning of whole trees for biomass energy: “whether commercial, non-commercial, burned or diseased, standing trees should not be used for energy.”

Source: THE BIOMASS MONITOR  – December 2011 [eNewsletter][PDF]

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* American Academy of Family Physicians Opposes Biomass Burning

Below are excerpts from an April 23, 2010 letter from Douglas Henley, M.D., vice president and CEO of the American Academy of Family Physicians (representing over 94,700 family physicians and medical students) to the North Carolina Department of Environmental and Natural Resources regarding biomass proposals.

We believe that the proposed biomass burning facilities pose a serious risk to the health of patients. The burning of poultry litter and wood wastes leads to increased risk of premature death and serious chronic illnesses.

The plants additionally will have a negative impact on the health of our patients through emissions of nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxides, arsenic, mercury and dioxins, all of which link directly to respiratory, brain, kidney, heart and thyroid diseases; cancer; diabetes mellitus; neurotoxicity; developmental delays in children and disruption in fetal development.

These emissions will have an adverse affect on the health of the most vulnerableNorth Carolinians: developing fetuses, newborns, children, those with chronic illness and the elderly.

The result of bringing these biomass facilities online will be increased disability and disease, which will lead to increased medical costs.

Source: THE BIOMASS MONITOR  – December 2011 [eNewsletter][PDF]

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* Massachusetts Poised to Slash Biomass Power Subsidies

Massachusetts Poised to Slash Biomass Power Subsidies

- by Meg Sheehan

In the coming weeks, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) is scheduled to issue Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) regulations that will require energy producers seeking “renewable energy credits” to meet strict standards: (1) approximately 40% efficiency (biomass power is about 25% efficient and still gets “green” energy credits) (2) proof that their greenhouse gas emissions are lower than fossil fuel combustion (3) and compliance with forest harvesting limits.

The Fall 2010 DOER RPS proposed regulations for biomass energy were met with a fierce backlash from over fourteen state and national public health and environmental groups. These groups are demanding that the state follow the science it commissioned in the “Manomet” Study, saying that the weakened proposed regulations were the result of demands of biomass industry lobbyists.

The biomass power industry is clearly terrified that Massachusettswill start a trend of slashing ratepayer subsidies for biomass energy under the RPS. When Covanta Energy went across the border toAlbany,NY, in mid-November to try to get trash burning added to the list of “renewable energy” sources eligible for public subsidies, they faced a similar backlash. Armed with its new reports the well-organized people’s anti-incinerator coalition fired back saying that incineration is the most expensive form of energy production per unit of electricity produced.

From: THE BIOMASS MONITOR – December 2011 [eNewsletter] | [PDF]

 

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* Two Biomass Proposals Axed in Indiana

This is David bringing down Goliath with a well-aimed stone. This is a lesson for us all in this age of “too big to fail”. It’s also a lesson that ordinary (extraordinary) citizens can solve problems in spite of our politicians.

by Josh Schlossberg
(source: Grace Schneider, The Courier-Journal, Oct. 12, 2011)

Liberty Green Renewables has withdrawn its two 32-megawatt biomass power incinerator proposals for Milltown and Scottsburg, Indiana. The corporation asked the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to revoke air emission permits previously issued by the state.

“What the citizens did was remarkable because the little guy was up against big energy and big banks,” said Cara Beth Jones of Concerned Citizens of Crawford County, part of the local grassroots biomass opposition. Citizen resistance included filling public meetings, educating elected officials, airing television ads, and filing legal appeals.

Read more at: http://www.nobiomassburning.org/2011/11/two-biomass-proposals-axed-in-indiana/

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* Emissions from Biomass vs Natural Gas

Biomass incineration for energy is not clean! Here’s a report using actual data.

See the full report here Air-Pollution-from-Natural-Gas-vs-Biomass-Power

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* Massachusetts Poised to Slash Biomass Power Subsidies

Massachusetts citizens are on the right track!

Massachusetts Poised to Slash Biomass Power Subsidies

by Meg Sheehan

In the coming weeks, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) is scheduled to issue Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) regulations that will require energy producers seeking “renewable energy credits” to meet strict standards: (1) approximately 40% efficiency (biomass power is about 25% efficient and still gets “green” energy credits) (2) proof that their greenhouse gas emissions are lower than fossil fuel combustion (3) and compliance with forest harvesting limits.

The Fall 2010 DOER RPS proposed regulations for biomass energy were met with a fierce backlash from over fourteen state and national public health and environmental groups. These groups are demanding that the state follow the science it commissioned in the “Manomet” Study, saying that the weakened proposed regulations were the result of demands of biomass industry lobbyists.

The biomass power industry is clearly terrified that Massachusetts will start a trend of slashing ratepayer subsidies for biomass energy under the RPS. When Covanta Energy went across the border to Albany, NY, in mid-November to try to get trash burning added to the list of “renewable energy” sources eligible for public subsidies, they faced a similar backlash. Armed with its new reports the well-organized people’s anti-incinerator coalition fired back saying that incineration is the most expensive form of energy production per unit of electricity produced.

http://www.nobiomassburning.org/2011/11/massachusetts-poised-to-slash-biomass-power-subsidies-the-biomass-monitor/

 

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* Two Biomass Incinerators Bite the Dust

What a great story of how a community stopped a biomass polluter!

Proposals for biomass incinerators proposed for both Crawford and Scott Counties in Indiana have been withdrawn — extraordinary victories for local opponents — the following article features Heartwood Hellbender Carbeth Jones who did an amazing job of organizing the opposition.

Citizens’ co-chair sleeping better

Jones says work remains ‘in other places’

Chris Adams

November 23, 2011

Cara Beth Jones is sleeping better now that the company that wanted to build a woody-biomass-to-electricity plant has withdrawn its environmental permits, but she says there is still work to do.

In September, Liberty Green Renewables Indiana LLC — the company that in December 2008 announced plans to build a facility on property it purchased northwest of the intersection of state roads 64 and 66 North near Milltown and later a similar facility at Scottsburg — requested permanent revocation of the permits from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

The request included two air permits, both issued in July 2010, and an acid rain permit issued in October 2010.

“All of the sources permitted under the above listed permits were never constructed or operated, and there are no longer any plans to do so,” LGRI representative J.P. Rexroad wrote in a Sept. 26 letter to IDEM.

Jones, who served as co-chair of the grassroots Concerned Citizens of Crawford County opposition group with Mark Woods, said that, short of the company selling the 110 acres it purchased near Milltown, this is the best news the organization could have received.

“I think what the citizens did was remarkable,” she said.

The Concerned Citizens, formed in early 2009, attended meetings of almost every entity they believed could influence the construction of the plant. However, the organization was a mainstay at the county board of commissioners’ monthly meetings, pressing for an ordinance that would regulate facilities like the biomass plant.

The commissioners adopted the licensing ordinance in June 2009 and then, in August of this year at Jones’ request, reaffirmed their commitment.

During those meetings, the Concerned Citizens raised questions about the effects the biomass plant would have on the area’s air and nearby Blue River, as well as how much of a drain it would be on the water supply. They also spent considerable time, sometimes hours, sharing the findings of their research, which included enlisting the assistance of state and national experts.

Jones, who didn’t have a computer until her children bought her one, said it wasn’t unusual for her to be at the home of Lorie Crecelius, another member of the Concerned Citizens, until 3 a.m. doing research on the Internet. She then still had to get up and go to work the next morning.

“I never dreamed it would be this hard,” Jones said.

With guidance from Jones and other members of the Concerned Citizens, a similar group was formed in Scottsburg. The two groups kept in close contact, even attending meetings in the other’s county. In addition, members of the Crawford County group provided assistance in the Scottsburg organization’s joint legal action with the Citizens Actions Coalition of Indiana against the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission.

Jones said that while the biomass plants in both counties appear defeated, there is still plenty of work to do. The Concerned Citizens told the Crawford County commissioners that, if they passed a solid licensing ordinance, it would have an impact elsewhere. Jones said the ordinance has been sent to Port Townsend, Wash., where a biomass plant has been proposed.

“This still goes on in other places,” she said. “I think it’s important that this ordinance that the county passed is being used as a guide, as it was in Scottsburg to what they passed.”

Closer to home, Jones pointed to the biomass plant that is planned for Jasper in neighboring Dubois County. Concerned about possible pollution, she also is worried about the potential negatives from using non-edible miscanthus as the fuel source, including having it grown on current farmland.

“You’re going to take more and more of our good acreage away for our food,” she said.

Jones said that, if the biomass plant is unsuccessful, farmers will be left in a bind, as it takes three years to get rid of miscanthus before the land can be used for other crops.

“A lot of this looks good on paper” but not in reality, she said.

The biomass facility, Jones said, is supposed to be cleaner than the former coal plant it replaces, but, if there isn’t enough miscanthus to keep it fueled, which she believes to be the case, then other, non-clean fuel sources, such as trees and garbage, will have to be used.

“It’s either the trees or the trash,” she said.

Jones said the Concerned Citizens don’t meet in person like they did, but they’re still active.

“We might not be meeting every month, but we’re still talking on the phone,” she said.

The purpose of group was for the people of Crawford County and surrounding areas to be able to raise questions and concerns about the biomass plant, Jones.

“Everything that a community brings in needs to be scrutinized like this for the benefit of the citizens who have to live with it,” she said.

Jones said she and the others often have been described as activists, but she doesn’t really see them that way. Instead, she explained, they were just a group of people trying to protect the quality of life for them and their children and grandchildren.

“I think a better word for us is ‘protectors’,” she said.

Biomass plant timeline of events

Dec. 30, 2008 — Liberty Green Renewables LLC announces to the Crawford County Board of Commissioners plans to develop an $80 million 28-megawatt biomass-to-electricity facility on a 110-acre site north of Milltown. LGR officials say the facility is expected to begin operation in late 2011 and will directly employ 25 full-time employees with another 130-plus indirect jobs related to fuel logistics possible.

Jan. 20, 2009 — About 70 Milltown-area residents attend a meeting at the Blue River Café to voice concerns about the proposed plant. The group refers to itself as the Concerned Citizens of Crawford County. “We’re living in kind of a fishbowl here in Milltown,” Cara Beth Jones, the group’s co-chair, says at the meeting. “Any pollution created here will probably stay here. We have a good life here — a good place to live. We don’t want that taken away.”

Feb. 26, 2009 — The Concerned Citizens and LGR officials address the Crawford County Board of Commissioners. It is the largest crowd to attend a commissioners’ meeting since the judicial complex in English opened in 2004. The Concerned Citizens are a mainstay at commissioners’ meetings for the next year-plus.

April 14, 2009 — The Concerned Citizens ask the Crawford County Council to deny any tax abatement requests from LGR and to write a letter to state and federal officials opposing the location of the proposed facility. “I would like to ask you all to send a letter to the governor and (Ninth District Rep.) Baron Hill and request no state or federal help, shut (down) the federal and state grants,” Glen Crecelius, a member of the Concerned Citizens, says. “These rascals don’t need no help.” The council takes no action regarding the letter.

April 22, 2009 — The Crawford County Board of Commissioners vote 3-0 to request a federal environmental impact study be conducted before the state issues permits for the proposed biomass plant.

May 12, 2009 — LGR officials make their first appearance before the county council. They do not request a property tax abatement but do ask the council to not be prejudiced by “false information.” “We would just ask for you to make any decisions that come before your council based on facts, facts that aren’t in evidence today, facts that you will get as part of the permit applications, which are going to be a matter of public record,” LGR’s Terry Naulty says.

May 28, 2009 — The Concerned Citizens, at a county commissioners’ meeting, respond to LGR’s statement to the council. “These folks out here,” Tom Doddridge says, referring to the members of the Concerned Citizens, “have spent hundreds of hours researching things. I have seen most of which has been researched and sent to you or to the county council. I know of nothing that is not etched in fact.”

July 23, 2009 — The Concerned Citizens tell the county commissioners that a letter they approved the previous month regarding an federal environmental impact study “was a letter of inquiry, not a request.”

Sept. 24, 2009 — The newly formed North Milltown Landowners Association present the county commissioners with a sample ordinance that would require the operator of any incinerator or combustion chamber that burns more than five tons of wood, wood products, vegetative waste or biomass per day to obtain a permit from the commissioners. The commissioners do not approve the ordinance but vote to have their attorney contact the legal firm Barnes & Thornburg LLP in Indianapolis to get a price quote on obtaining advice as to the commissioners’ authority regarding such an ordinance and requiring a federal environmental impact study.

Oct. 13, 2009 — The county council commits to funding for the county commissioners to seek outside legal counsel regarding their authority to adopt an ordinance and require a federal environmental impact study.

Oct. 29, 2009 — The county attorney reports to the commissioners that the initial advice from Barnes & Thornburg LLP, in Indianapolis, is that an ordinance like the one proposed by the North Milltown Landowners Association would be viewed by the courts as a backdoor attempt at land-use management.

Dec. 30, 2009 — An attorney for Lucas Oil owner Forrest Lucas, who has ties to the area, including family who own property adjacent to the site of the proposed biomass plant, requests the county commissioners take action on the proposed ordinance.

Jan. 13, 2010 — Indiana Department of Environmental Management officials tell a crowd of about 200 people at a public hearing at the Crawford County 4-H Community Park that, while they sympathize with pleas to halt construction of the proposed biomass plant, they must follow prescribed guidelines when considering an application for an air permit.

March 30, 2010 — Twenty-three people speak at a public hearing at the Crawford County Judicial Complex regarding a possible county ordinance that would require the proposed biomass plant to be licensed. Twenty-two of those discuss why the plant would be bad for the community, while just one — the attorney for the plant’s developer — opposes the ordinance and talks about the facility’s merits. The county commissioners make no decision regarding the ordinance and recess the hearing.

April 29, 2010 — The county commissioners re-convene the public hearing regarding a proposed licensing ordinance but still make no decision as they instruct Mike Scanlon of Barnes & Thornburg LLP to continue working to create an ordinance that would be able to withstand a court challenge. The commissioners had hired Scanlon to review a proposed ordinance prepared by Ice Miller LLP at the request of Forrest Lucas and his daughter, Tammy Vanlaningham, who lives near the plant site, that would require facilities like the biomass plant to be licensed. Scanlon says he has a number of concerns about the original ordinance and had just received a second draft earlier in the week.

May 24, 2010 — At a continuation of the public hearing regarding a proposed licensing ordinance, members of the Concerned Citizen voice frustration that changes by Scanlon have made the ordinance too weak and ambiguous. The commissioners decide to allow written comments through June 3 so that a new final ordinance can be drafted and made available for public review by June 15 and voted on at the commissioners’ June 29 meeting.

June 8, 2010 — The county council receives notice that it likely will be asked for additional funding to pay for legal services regarding the proposed ordinance as the work done by Barnes & Thornburg LLP has exceeded the $20,000 the council previously approved.

July 29, 2010 — The county commissioners unanimously adopt an ordinance that requires facilities like the proposed biomass plant to be licensed. Cara Beth Jones, co-chair of the Concerned Citizens, tells the commissioners the ordinance appears to be a good one. Following the 3-0 vote, most of the crowd in the courtroom stands and applauds.

Aug. 30, 2011 — At the request of Jones, the county commissioners reiterate their commitment to the ordinance.

Sept. 26, 2011 — Liberty Green Renewables Indiana sends a letter to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management requesting permanent revocation of two air permits, both issued in July 2010, and an acid rain permit issued in October 2010, for the company’s proposed biomass plants in Crawford and Scott counties. “All of the sources permitted under the above listed permits were never constructed or operated, and there are no longer any plans to do so,” LGRI representative J.P. Rexroad states in the letter.

 

 

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