We wish to recognize and thank the BREDL team for their leadership in taking this first legal challenge to address claims asserted by ReVenture. Like BREDL, we believe that clean energy does not come from a smokestack.
The Sierra Club policy is clearly opposed to waste to energy incineration and tax incentives or credits for this technology. We strongly oppose policies that promote landfill and/or incineration of resources (http://www.sierraclub.org/committees/zerowaste/garbage/) and firmly believe that a waste minimization policy based on “Zero Waste” is the most economical, environmental and sustainable option for our communities. As stated in our conservation policy of Cradle-to-Cradle Principles for the 21st Century, “Zero Waste is a design principle and planning approach for the environmental management of resources. It aims to prevent waste by design rather than manage it after the fact. Sierra Club’s Zero Waste policy addresses not only the quantity of waste we generate, but also its toxicity, its contribution to climate change, and the important links between waste reduction and corporate responsibility” (http://www.sierraclub.org/policy/conservation/ZeroWasteExtendedProducerResponsibilityPolicy.pdf).
We will have additional comments and announcements on this issue available as soon as possible.
Read their press release below:
Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
APRIL 6, 2011
Louis Zeller 336-982-2691
LEAGUE FILES LEGAL CHALLENGE AGAINST REVENTURE
OPPOSES GARBAGE AND YARD WASTE AS RENEWABLE ENERGY
This week the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League filed a legal challenge to ReVenture Park Investment’s proposal for a waste-burning electric generator in Charlotte. In its petition filed with the North Carolina Utilities Commission on Monday, the League opposed ReVenture’s request to have municipal wastes considered renewable energy resources.
The petition, filed by Chapel Hill attorney John Runkle, would block ReVenture’s request for a ruling from the Commission to have yard waste and refuse-derived fuel inserted into North Carolina’s definition of renewable energy. The League’s petition states that to be renewable, a source of energy must renew or recharge itself, such as wind and solar power. Power generators which rely on biomass fuel are problematic because of factors such as heat content, energy debt and pollution. For example, the Division of Air Quality’s analysis revealed that biomass power is dirtier than coal in terms of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. ReVenture’s rulemaking request asks the Commission to grant triple renewable energy credits for these fuels.
In a statement delivered to the Commission, Louis Zeller, the League’s Science Director, said, “The use of biomass fuel will not reduce levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere; therefore, it cannot be part of the solution to global warming in the 21st Century.” He said that refuse-derived fuel made from household garbage was not considered a renewable energy resource by the General Assembly when it approved the state renewable energy standard in 2007 and that it could not be ruled so now.
As for yard waste—grass clippings, leaves and brush—Zeller said that ReVenture’s proposal to use yard waste for fuel would simply divert it from Charlotte’s central compost facility. He said, “It would be robbing from Peter to pay Paul.”
On April 4th, after hearing Zeller’s testimony, the Commission voted to keep the issue open pending further proceedings. The League is requesting that other NC and Mecklenburg County environmental organizations submit comments as soon as possible.
The League and its chapter Citizens for a Healthy Environment waged a successful campaign to secure pollution reductions at the BMWNC incinerator in Matthews. The statewide Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League was founded in 1984 and promotes environmental democracy and public health protection.
The League’s petition is available at www.BREDL.org