Biomass power plants pollute.
Water, Agricultural, Air Issues for Jasper, Indiana, in Twisted Oak Proposal
See also the tab containing recent research (December 2012) conducted by University of Notre Dame scholar Dr. Kristin Shrader-Frechette.
- The proposed daily use of 400 thousand gallons of water is 50 to 70 percent more water each year than the coal power plant used; it will also discharge 50 to 70 percent more into the city’s waste water system (p. 7 Twisted Oak Jasper proposal). Citizens are concerned about the significant added stress on water use for the city, especially during droughts.
The summer of 2010, the Department of Natural Resources issued warning letters to 26 counties in Southern Indiana, including Dubois County, requesting that entities using more than 100,000 gallons of water a day reduce their usage by 10 to 15 percent. Front page of the Herald, Wednesday, October 20, 2010: ”The majority of Dubois County is under severe drought, according to the National Drought Mitigation Center.”
The drought of the summer of 2012 was even worse, with the city water supply greatly taxed.
Scientists warn of increasing droughts in the years to come.
Miscanthus grass requires huge quantities of water to grow. See Dr. Kristin Shrader-Frechette’s research and any basic research on miscanthus.
Click this line above from University of Illinois. Here are some of the pertinent corn rootworm points from article (up above)
“The worst rootworm was happy on Miscanthus,”
- “The western corn rootworm beetle, a pest that feasts on corn roots and corn silk and costs growers more than $1 billion annually in the U.S., also can survive on the perennial grass Miscanthus x giganteus . . .”
- “The implications [of rootworms and miscanthus] for corn growers are not yet known, but these findings brought it home to us that much more study is needed,” Spencer said. “Before we put something out in the environment that could result in pest problems increasing on corn, we need to more fully appreciate the ecology and potential interactions in the environment.”
Jasper, Indiana, is currently categorized as in “non-attainment” status. This status indicates that our air quality is already currently compromised. Why would we want to introduce biomass air pollution to an already highly air polluted area?
Bud Hauersperger wanted to make a clarification about a statement he made at the informational meeting with Twisted Oak. IDEM had given Hauersperger information that said Jasper was taken off the Non-Attainment designation in 2009 and he mentioned this at the informational meeting. IDEM corrected themselves on February 10th and said that Jasper remains on the Non- Attainment designation until September or October of 2011. The City was eligible to be removed from the designation in 2009, but it was postponed by the EPA due to the Clean Air Interstate Rule which was not finalized, so they kept the designation in place. More clarifications need to be made, but they expect the City to be off the designation later this year. (Utility Service board Minutes 2/21/11)
- Jasper’s nonattainment status gives credence to the concern of citizens that their air quality would be further compromised by biomass air pollution. Nonattainment is a category designated by the Clean Air Act and the EPA for locations and areas where air pollution levels persistently exceed National Air Quality Standards. It also designates an area with poor ambient air quality and an area that fails to meet standards. Jasper’s power plant is already in existence and permitted under nonattainment designation, but this does not mean that it should be converted to burn biomass or fired back up.
- Unsubstantiated “Carbon Neutrality” and “Closed Loop” claims: Twisted Oak and Jasper city leaders claim that the the biomass portion of the proposed Twisted Oak (Jasper Clean energy Center) power plant would be carbon neutral; however, when asked city leaders offer no citations.
Sciencemag.org (Fixing a Critical Climate Accounting Error) explains:
“The accounting now used for assessing compliance with carbon limits in the Kyoto Protocol and in climate legislation contains a far-reaching but fixable flaw that will severely undermine greenhouse gas reduction goals (1). It does not count CO2 emitted from tailpipes and smokestacks when bioenergy is being used, but it also does not count changes in emissions from land use when biomass for energy is harvested or grown. This accounting erroneously treats all bioenergy as carbon neutral regardless of the source of the biomass, which may cause large differences in net emissions. For example, the clearing of long-established forests to burn wood or to grow energy crops is counted as a 100% reduction in energy emissions despite causing large releases of carbon.”
“Closed loop biomass power generation doesn’t make sense from a cost perspective. That is why no such plants have been built to date and none are likely to be built in the foreseeable future.” (www.usabiomass.org)
According to Jerry Whitfield of Biomass Investment Group in a statement to the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means “No closed-looped has ever has ever been claimed since its inception in the Energy Policy Act of 1992. Economics have been challenging and the development horizon is long and there doesn’t seem to be a obvious business model out there.”
- Miscanthus can host western corn rootworm (http://news.illinois.edu/news/10/0105rootworm.html)
“The western corn rootworm beetle, a pest that feasts on corn roots and corn silk and costs growers more than $1 billion annually in the U.S., also can survive on the perennial grass Miscanthus x giganteus, a potential biofuels crop that would likely be grown alongside corn, researchers report.”
- 18- 20 shipments by tractor trailer trucks, each carrying approximately 25 tons, would daily deliver the harvested miscanthus to the fuel processing center (p. 26 Twisted Oak proposal). The emissions from these flat bed trucks and the mechanical harvesting of the miscanthus grass, or the industry production that produces wood waste that might be used as a biomass fuel source, have not been accounted for by the city of Jasper or by Twisted Oak.
Consider what has happened elsewhere:
A headline reads: “Biomass Plants Absorb Huge Air Pollution Fines”“FRESNO, Calif. — Two biomass plants, intended to help the San Joaquin Valley clean up the air, have been tagged with one of the state’s largest air-pollution fines in recent history.” (By Mark Grossi, The Fresno Bee, February 16 2011)