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EPA clean air regulations threaten biomass

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High Five
Friday, September 17, 2010

Proposed clean air regulations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency would make it difficult to launch and operate Oregon biomass plants.

Biomass, or using vegetation for fuel, has basked in a green glow in recent years, winning subsidies, bipartisan political support and a renewable energy designation in Oregon and nationwide that groups it with nonpolluting solar, wave and wind power. Oregon backers are hoping wood-fired power plants will spur thinning in the state's abundant national forests, create thousands of rural jobs and provide a domestic source of fuel.

But the industry is in its infancy, supporters say, and new EPA rules could kill it.

Read more at OregonLive.com.





0 #1 oz 2010-09-17 12:30:12
Jobs for Oregonians and in places that need them, controlled in the courts not in the Marketplace. Spotted Owl, climate change, co2. Forests are burning, how much polution comes from that?
Oregon has more trees today than ever. Oregon has more unemployment and stays that way due to bad regulations. More forests less co2, seems like biomass could fix the financial woes of Oregon. Maybe bike pathes through the forest will create more jobs.
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Darin Rutledge
0 #2 Ripple effectDarin Rutledge 2010-09-17 16:08:26
Biomass is getting more difficult to approve by the day, it seems. In my part of the state, a proposed plant in Lakeview is hitting obstacles, and a proposed plant in Klamath Falls isn't necessarily a shoe-in.

By-and-large, resistance to these facilities comes from those who are more worried about their view than whether or not a sustainable economy will provide schools, grocery stores and hospitals for them 10 years down the road. I can't fault them; perhaps they are justified in this resistance.

What is shameful is that these (I hate using this term) NIMBYs mask their selfish concerns behind doom and gloom environmental issues, but turn around and freely suggest that we site these facilities in another location. In the case of Klamath Falls, the proposed site has been zoned industrial for decades - even though it is just now being proposed for use as such.

There's no doubt these facilities have some level of environmental impact ... just like timber mills, coal-fired plants, and hydro-electric dams. The fact of the matter, though, is that we must accept that moving our economy forward is only possible when we fairly and objectively analyze the consequences - both positive and negative - and make an educated decision based on the value of the tradeoff.

As Oz pointed out, many of Oregon's rural communities, those most in need of some sort of economic impetus, are primed and ready for these types of projects. Our attitude must be to welcome them, their jobs (along with the secondary employment they create), and their corporate residency with open arms. Beyond that, we must then engage with them to ensure that they are meeting their promises, and that they are acting as a responsible member of our community.

The only way that can happen is if we let the MARKET dictate market conditions, not regulation. I know it's hard for our state and federal governments to believe, but our rural communities are wise enough and prepared to "regulate" these opportunities without laws and unreasonable environmental targets that take them completely off the table.
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