The coming biomassacre
As a certified green builder I feel I am qualified to render an
opinion on the unsettling topic of biomass. It has become obvious,
after reading the well-written article by Anne Stanton (3/8/10), that
Ed Rice of
Traverse City Light & Power (TCLP),
mayor Chris Bzdok, city commissioner Jim Carruthers and all the other
proponents of biomass are either ignorant of or are ignoring specific,
To skew certain facts and totally ignore others altogether to expound
on and expand their arguments for a biomass plant only proves they are
not qualified to render any definitive opinions at all. Case in point.
1. There is ample proof that a biomass plant is not as carbon neutral
as they would have us believe. And its an absurd comparison from
those who assert burning a tree releases the same amount of carbon
dioxide as one that decomposes over 40 years. In that span of time, an
average biomass plant will have burned 4 million tons of wood from 3
million harvested wood acres, releasing 8 billion pounds of carbon
dioxide into the atmosphere.
2. There is a reason that trees die and decompose -- this regenerates
our soils, reduces erosion, and feeds the most benign micro-organisms
at the beginning of the food chain amongst others. No one knows what
the long term consequences would be by removing this staple, and to
ignore the potential consequences is extremely shortsighted and
3. The rush to produce corn-based ethanol has proved to be one of the
biggest follies of the 21st century for numerous reasons before one
even considers the government subsidies issue. Dont any of these
so-called experts see the corollary between biomass plants and the
many ethanol plants that have gone idle or closed down altogether?
4. Has anyone drawn concentric circles in a 75 mile radius around Mancelona,
Traverse City, and potentially Frankfort? Guess what? They overlap. So
how is this going to work when you now have three times the demand for
wood products from the same areas of our region? Logging and select
cutting is very invasive and this will decimate these areas.
5. Consider that TCLP has spent millions on a wind generator that
produces only one per cent of their annual power and has already
required several hundred thousand dollars in maintenance
(incorporating used parts because new ones were cost prohibitive). I
think the true cost of wind electricity is more than 10.5 cents per
kilowatt hour. Is this good fiscal responsibility on TCLPs part?
There are many sensible alternatives to biomass but it would seem the
$25 million they (TCLP) have in reserve is burning a hole in their
pocket and not being managed wisely at this juncture. Common sense is
just not in their vocabulary.
I am a big proponent for exploring reasonable and more realistic
alternate energy sources, but to rush foolhardily into a technology
whose potential long term detriments havent been fully weighed or
explored is madness. And to potentially destroy a resource faster than
it can regenerate is not a good example of sound reasoning or a well
planned venue -- its woodland genocide --its a biomassacre.
Henry S. Ramsby TC