Large Scale Biomass in Georgia Threatens Community Health (and Forests)

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from outgoing Dogwood Alliance Board Member John Beal from Decatur, GA, who is an awesome community activist and grassroots fundraiser!

Why would we sacrifice the health of our children and the future of our Southern forests for a biomass plant that will have no sustainable future? Here in Georgia we are facing this threat and asking this question.

A Lithonia (GA) organization, Citizens for a Healthy and Safe Environment is working to stop the construction of a local biomass plant. They are on the front lines of the efforts to halt this industrial development that is not a better alternative to burning coal and oil!

We got some welcome news here as the new year started when Georgia Power announced that they were retiring 15 dirty coal and oil burning plants. They also recently announced no new planned power stations. Georgia families will breathe easier with these polluters phased out. But plans to build a biomass plant in Lithonia will just add a new source of pollution that is once again a real threat to human health and additionally a new threat to our Southern forests and ecosystems. This new plant will emit tons of hazardous pollutants that are already known to cause cancer and birth defects.

The Lithonia area is already failing to meet EPA health standards for particulate matter and ozone. The addition of this biomass plant will only increase the health threats to children living nearby.

There is an additional problem with this plan. This single facility will require 20 tons of wood chips per hour. At the rate that biomass plants are projected to be developed in the southeast, there is no possible sustainable way that our southern forests can be harvested to supply the “fuel”. This is not an alternative clean energy solution!

For the future health of our children and grandchildren and the future of our Southern forests we need to move toward truly alternative forms of energy production.

For more information on this local effort and the challenges presented by large scale industrial biomass check out the links below.

Biomass Plant Will Add Pollution – December 15, 2012: Former Lithonia Mayor Marcia G. Hunter speaks out in the Crossroads News about the pollution from a proposed biomass plant.

EPD hearing into biomass plant draws a crowd

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