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Biomass Moratorium Campaign

Biomass Moratorium Campaign

In early 2013, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Dogwood Alliance will launch a campaign to protect North American forests from being clearcut and burned for electricity. Knob and Valley Audubon Society’s Board of Directors recently agreed to support these efforts by signing onto this campaign platform. This platform outlines the position NRDC and Dogwood Alliance will take publically as they call for a moratorium on the use of whole trees in wood pellet manufacturing and utility-scale biomass power production in the US and Europe.

As you may know, energy from biomass has been widely promoted as a form of renewable energy along with technologies like solar, wind, and geothermal.  Over the past two years, however, mounting scientific evidence has discredited bioenergy from forests as a clean, renewable fuel.   Burning whole trees to produce electricity actually increases greenhouse gas pollution compared with fossil fuels and emits higher levels of multiple air pollutants.   This fact – combined with the dramatic forest destruction created by logging for bioenergy — means that biomass from whole trees is a dirty and destructive fuel.

Today, major power producers are facing growing pressure to address the climate crisis by replacing fossil fuels with renewable alternatives. Unfortunately, here in the US and in Europe utilities are promoting wood-based biomass power as a renewable and carbon-neutral energy alternative. Instead of increasing investment in truly green energy such as wind and solar, utilities are converting coal plants to burn wood and building new biomass power facilities – with an emphasis on whole trees – at an alarming rate. This is especially true in the Southeastern US, where currently 25 pellet production facilities are in operation and another 15 new large facilities have been proposed.