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Coalitions forming against biomass nationally and in Gainesville

Thu, Jul 29, 2010

2010 archive


Conceptual rendering of American Renewables proposed plant in Gainesville

Groups and individuals opposed to biomass energy plants announced Thursday they are taking steps to block a proposed plant in Gainesville while opposing federal legislation dealing with renewable energy.

Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson, Gov. Charlie Crist and some environmental groups say using wood, crops or garbage as fuel for biomass plants can provide renewable energy that is needed in Florida’s future. But several proposed plants in Florida have been moved, canceled or have been delayed by local opposition groups, permitting problems or market uncertainties.

The Florida Public Service Commission in May determined that a 100-megawatt power plant in Gainesville is needed after the panel almost voted down the project in February. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection on July 14 issued notice of its intent to approve an air pollution permit for the American Renewables LLC plant in Gainesville.

A coalition of at least 10 people is forming in opposition to the plant, said Mick Harrison, an Indiana attorney who is representing the group. Individuals from the coalition filed legal challenges this week against DEP’s site certification process for the plant and the PSC decision, Harrison said. A legal challenge to the DEP air pollution permit will be filed Friday, he said.

The company faces an increasingly well-organized and vocal group whose arguments have no bases in facts, said Albert Morales, chief financial officer of American Renewables in Boston. “We think it’s important to realize this project will help wean Gainesville off fossil fuels,” he said.

Meanwhile, 55 environmental and health groups, including six smaller Florida groups, sent a letter Thursday to President Obama and congressional leaders urging them not to include biomass in the renewable energy standard of proposed federal farm and energy bills.

Editors note: Comments from American Renewables were added to this story on Friday, July 30.

(Story provided by the Florida Tribune. Story copyrighted by Bruce Ritchie and FloridaEnvironments.com. Do not copy or redistribute without permission, which can be obtained by contacting brucebritchie@gmail.com.)

2 Responses to “Coalitions forming against biomass nationally and in Gainesville”

  1. Meg Sheehan says:

    The comment by Mr. Morales of "American Renewables" is uniformed at best. The opposite of what he says is the truth: The facts, based on science, particularly a report commissioned by the state of Massachusetts, Mr. Morales home state, show that biomass burning is worse for the climate. http://www.manomet.org/node/322

    Recent reports from the Environmental Working Group, and Clean Air Task Force show that biomass impacts are even WORSE than the Manomet study claims.

    The American Lung Association and the Massachusetts Medical Association, and a total of over 77,000 doctors nation wide oppose biomass plants like American Renewables because they present an unacceptable health risk.

    http://www.saveamericasforests.org/Forests%20-%20Incinerators%20-%20Biomass/Documents/Human%20Health/ALA%20national%20letter.pdf

    Those are only a few of the facts showing the destructive impacts of biomass burning.

    The facts, sir, just the facts.

    Meg Sheehan
    Anti-Biomass Incineration and Forest Protection Campaign
    http://www.saveamericasforests.org

  2. "The company faces an increasingly well-organized and vocal group whose arguments have no bases in facts, said Albert Morales, chief financial officer of American Renewables in Boston. "We think it's important to realize this project will help wean Gainesville off fossil fuels," he said."

    How does Mr. Morales spell D I S I N G E N U O U S?!

    Respectfully, Mr Morales, should point out one argument presented by this group that does not have sound basis in fact. Simply put, he cannot do this. And, therefore he ought not to go on the public record with such fallacious utterances. By doing so, he only further diminishes what very little credibility his industry has with the truth-seeking public.

    Perhaps he might visit the following link in order to learn a thing or two about the environmental health consequences that will be wrought on the Alachua County community by his air-fouling incinerator.

    http://concernedcitizensofflorida.wordpress.com/2010/07/29/biomass-incinerators-–-separating-fact-from-fiction/

    Dr. Tom Termotto, BCIM
    Healthcare Professionals for Clean Environment