Nothing in the entire world of energy/environment policy issues exceeds the absurdity of support for “biomass” burning by people who say they care about sustainability and health. Biomass burner have high emissions of both carbon dioxide and health damaging air pollutants. They have the potential to devastate existing forests.
The US Environmental Protection Agency has proposed standards intended to reduce harmful emissions from “boilers” and incinerators, including “biomass” burners such as the many wood burners built and proposed to be build in Minnesota. A Sept 28, 2010 letter from EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson says:
- “Many of the facilities in question are located in very close proximity to neighborhoods where large numbers of people live and large numbers of children go to school. EPA estimates that the new standards with cut the facilities’ toxic mercury emissions in half, and, in the process, reduce their annual emissions of harmful sulfur dioxide and particulate matter by more than 300,000 tons and more than 30,000 tons respectively.
- “Each year, these reductions in air pollution will avoid an estimated 2,000 to 5,100 premature deaths, 1,400 cases of chronic bronchitis, 35,000 cases of aggravated asthma, and 1.6 million occurrences of acute respiratory symptoms. EPA estimates that Americans receive five to twelve dollars in health benefits for every dollar spent to meet the standards.”
But this isn’t enough for Klobuchar and 40 of her colleagues, who wrote:
- “…regulations could impose onerous burdens on US manufacturers, leading to loss of potentially thousands of high-paying jobs this sector provides. … The projected cost of compliance could make or break the viability of continued operations. … extremely costly regulatory burdens.”
- “EPA has concluded that no additional large biomass fired boilers will be build in the United States, indicating the cessation of the domestic biomass industry.” [Not true at all, although it would be very good news if it was true.]
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And so on. Read the letters for yourself. The biomass people, who claim to be clean and green but know very well they are not, don’t want to have to walk their talk.
Klobuchar is one of many officeholders who pose as friends of the environment but often side with polluting special interests. This is not likely to change unless and until she hears from a lot more people.
She has repeatedly declined to meet with representatives of Neighbors Against the Burner.
(Senator Al Franken apparently has not signed the biomass-industry letter.)
Contact information for Sen, Klobchar’s offices is here.