Growing opposition to biomass incineration is evident throughout the US and Europe. People are realizing the true costs of such ventures and are organizing. The myth that biomass incineration is a clean form of electricity production simply cannot stand. Organizations such as the American Lung Association, the American Cancer Society, and the American Heart Association have all made formal arguments AGAINST biomass. (See also documents on our "Resources" page.)
Thus, community members in our region and across the nation are coming together to demand a priority to keep our air, water, and citizens healthy, while providing clean forms of energy production and green jobs for our region.
How Can an Incinerator Impact Your Health?
The American Lung Association and medical associations through the U.S. have unequivocally stated their opposition to biomass incineration for energy production:
"Biomass burning of ... wood waste creates emissions of particulate matter that research has shown increase the risk of ... asthma, chronic bronchitis, and heart disease. This burning process also creates ... nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that increase smog and ozone, which are known to increase lung disease and mortality; sulfur dioxides which also contribute to respiratory disease ..." (North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians)
Children's Health Study (CHS), which began in Southern California in 1993, included more than 6000 public school children. Many research papers emerging from this study have produced findings showing that exposure to air pollution in the region has resulted in increased school absences, asthma exacerbation, and new-onset asthma. (Kunzli et al. 2003)
The American Cancer Society estimated that for each 10-micron/m3 increase in annual exposure to PM2.5, long-term all-cause, cardiopulmonary, and lung cancer mortality were increased by approximately 4%, 6%, and 8%, respectively. The relationship between PM2.5 and adverse health effects was linear and without a discernible lower "safe" threshold.
Did You Know?
Until early summer 2011, the Industrial Authority in Valdosta planned to build a 40 MW biomass incinerator, against the protests of concerned citizens and despite readily available alternatives. The site for this plant would have been near the intersection of Highway 94 and Perimeter Road, and only 1 mile away from two elementary schools and residential areas!
This incinerator would have wasted $110 million of our tax dollars, burned hundreds of thousands of tons of wood every year (plus sewage sludge!) and would have emitted significant amounts of dangerous chemicals and pollutants into the air: 247 tons each of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide; 135 tons of PM; 113 tons of PM10; 87 tons of PM2.5; 60 tons of volatile organic compounds (VOCs); 14 tons of total hazardous air pollutants (HAPs).
Thus, Wiregrass Activists for Clean Energy organized, formed alliances with local groups such as SAVE and the NAACP, and with the help of many concerned citizens was able to stop a project that was once considered a done deal.
size description of particulate matter
"The Lung Association urges that the legislation not promote the combustion of biomass. Burning biomass could lead to significant increases in emissions of nitrogen oxides, particulate matter and sulfur dioxide and have severe impacts on the health of children, older adults, and people with lung diseases."
IT TAKES A VILLAGE TO STOP A BIOMASS PLANT!
If you live in a community that is facing the threat of a biomass incinerator, know this: THEY CAN BE STOPPED!
billboard we used in our successful biomass fight