Sunday, April 15, 2007

SUMMARY OF BIOMASS ISSUES

The proposed Estancia Basin Biomass Power Plant will pollute the air and deplete precious natural resources. What happens when there are no more trees to harvest and the water runs out and there are law suits filed by citizens who develop serious health problems? Would you want this plant in your neighborhood? Would you want this to be your legacy?

Concerned citizens request that you review this matter. We have provided an executive summary below and a detailed PowerPoint presentation with facts and figures to support our position.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The New Mexico Renewable Energy Act of 2004 requires public utilities to purchase no less than 10% of their energy from clean renewable energy sources by 2011 and 20% by 2020 to promote energy self-sufficiency, preserve the state’s natural resources and pursue an improved environment in New Mexico.

What the Power Plant is NOT

The proposed Estancia Basin Biomass Power Generation Plant is NOT a clean renewable energy source; it does not preserve the states natural resources and will be a major source of pollution … a detriment to New Mexico’s environment.

NOT Clean

This plant is predicted to generate over 700 tons of pollutants ever year. The major ones are (see slides 8 – 10 for a complete list):

• Nitrogen Dioxide – 231 tons
• Carbon Monoxide - 221 tons
• Volatile Organic Compounds – 48 tons
• Sulfur Dioxide – 40 tons
• Particulate Matter (total suspended) – 79 tons
• Many toxic chemicals including mercury and formaldehyde

This list does not include the emissions generated by equipment and trucks used to harvest and transport the trees.

Burning trees releases greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.
• NOx is 360 times as harmful as CO2
• CO becomes CO2 in the atmosphere

Increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere is a major contributor to Global Warming – So why build a plant that you know will add to the Global Warming problem? Why not build a plant that is solar or wind powered --- clean and renewable sources of energy!

NOT A RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCE

Not a renewable energy source – Biomass harvest cannot exceed forest growth in order to be renewable and should not qualify as a renewable energy source under REA if this is exceeded

• Estancia biomass will burn 55 tons of trees per hour or 480,000 tons per year
• At 0.66 tons per acre of actual renewable biomass (USDA Forest Inventory database), the plant would require 720,000 acres of National Forest
• The Sandias, Manzanos, and Gallinas combined only have 337,000 acres
• Assuming a generous annual growth rate of 0.24 tons/acre in pinon-juniper forests, the currently leased 43,000 acres of state lands will yield about 10,000 tons of renewable biomass per year. This would only be enough renewable biomass to power the Estancia plant for 7.5 days. These lands will have to be clear cut and this by definition is not renewable.


DOES NOT PRESERVE THE STATE’S NATURAL RESOURCES

• Water - In a closed basin that is running out of water the transfer of 457 acre-feet per year (1828 houses) of consumptive use has been requested for the biomass plant
• Road damage - Dramatic increase in road traffic especially rural roads, repairs to roads paid for with tax dollars, results in need for more tax dollars that are not coming from WWP because they have been awarded tax breaks.
• Fire - Increased fire risk due to increased human access and large slash piles
• Traffic accidents - due to increased road traffic
• Soil damage and erosion from thinning/hauling
• Wildlife Habitat damage

So the proposed Biomass Plant is not clean, is detrimental to the environment, contributes to global warming and is a health hazard (consequence of pollutants) to citizens. AND solar and wind powered energy (clean and renewable) ARE an option. WHY BUILD THE BIOMASS PLANT AS PROPOSED? No sane person would move forward with such a plant. Do you want this responsibility on your shoulders?

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