Letters to the Editor

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BIOMASS: Critics ignore existing pollution sources

Letter by Loren C. Kelley, Tacoma on Aug. 18, 2010 at 1:24 pm | 3 Comments »
August 18, 2010 3:05 pm

Re: Residents ignored on incinerator (letter, 8-13).

The writer and others from Shelton are worried about the biomass energy plant proposed for their city, but they don’t seem to be worried about the wood smoke presently produced from old stoves used for home heating. These are a significant source of pollution during the cold months in the Puget Sound area. Apparently, unhealthy wood smoke from a lot of small sources is OK, while emissions from a big corporate project are not.

A modern biomass energy plant incorporates preheated combustion air delivered at a controlled rate and technology to capture particulates after burning. At most it produces a few percent of the smoke produced by an old wood stove, and also less than modern wood stoves and pellet stoves.

If the stumps, tree limbs, etc. that would be burned in such a plant are instead burned at the logging site or left to rot, they will send as much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in the short term as the energy facility.

If the residents of Shelton opposed to the biomass plant succeed in stopping it, it would only make sense for them to continue the effort this winter by finding the households in their neighborhood that use wood heat (they’re easy to spot), knocking on their doors and telling them what nasty polluters they are.

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