On April 28th, the Arbor Day Foundation awarded Dominion Power’s Project Plant It! one of its 2012 Arbor Day Awards. The irony here of course is that while Dominion is planting trees and reportedly “sparking a love of trees in children,” the company is gearing up for the wholesale burning of forests for electricity. While planting trees is a good thing it will not mitigate the damage and destruction to entire forested ecosystems that will occur if Dominion starts burning trees for electricity.
Dominion is currently planning to open three new 50 megawatt facilities in Virginia that will burn wood to produce electricity. Additionally, the company plans to burn wood along with coal at its massive new coal burning power plant in Wise County, Virginia.
Recent scientific studies document that burning whole trees for electricity will increase carbon emissions, accelerate industrial logging, and pose a greater threat to human health than burning coal. If Dominion truly cares about trees, the company should make a public commitment to only burn wood waste and not whole trees at these facilities. Instead, Dominion should emphasize only truly renewable energy sources like solar and wind, as well as invest heavily in supporting ratepayer efforts for greater energy conservation and efficiency.
To learn more about the threats to Southern forests from bioenergy, visit here.