skip to main content
skip to newscasts

Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Public News Service Logo
facebook instagram linkedin reddit youtube twitter
view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

President Biden Tests Positive for Covid; Report: SD ethanol plants release hazardous air pollutants; Report: CA giant sequoia groves in peril after megafires.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

Biomass company bankruptcy filing shows industry’s instability

play audio
Play

Thursday, March 21, 2024   

Biomass producer Enviva's recent bankruptcy filing is being considered a sign of the industry's volatility.

Recent financial challenges have hampered the world's largest biomass producer but some feel it has been a long time coming. Studies show biomass companies rely heavily on government subsidies stemming from biomass' status in some states and countries as a clean renewable resource.

Heather Hillaker, senior attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center, said it is not the case.

"The use of the wood pellets to generate energy emits a large quantity of carbon dioxide but it is assumed to be carbon-neutral because at some point the trees will regrow and they will reabsorb the carbon that's emitted," Hillaker explained. "What that fails to consider is the time lag, the carbon debt period, as it's referred to."

A 2023 study finds biomass facility emissions are almost three times higher than other fossil-fuel energies. While Enviva has been allowed to restructure, Hillaker noted it could have ripple effects for the biomass industry.

Despite its challenges, biomass remains one of many energy sources in Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin's All of the Above Energy Plan. Amendments have been approved to keep biomass plants open as the state works toward its 2050 carbon-neutral goals.

Along with environmental impacts, biomass can be detrimental to human health. The World Health Organization found indoor air pollution from biomass is a top risk for the global burden of disease.

Hillaker pointed out biomass facilities create large amounts of fugitive dust in often overburdened environmental justice communities.

"Fugitive dust is really just particulate matter," Hillaker said. "But it's particulate matter that doesn't come out of a stack, really. It kind of wafts off of the facility. Oftentimes for wood pellet mills, it's woody debris coming off the facility in the breeze or in the wind."

She added the dust keeps people from being able to open their windows or having large dust accumulations gather in air filters. People living in close range of biomass facilities could face health effects such as asthma or cardiovascular disease.


get more stories like this via email

more stories
Workers can file safety or heat-related complaints at the Cal/OSHA office nearest their work site or by calling 866-924-9757. (Sculpies/Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

play sound

California has shattered heat records left and right this month and temperatures are forecast to be 10 degrees above normal this weekend, so the …


Environment

play sound

A court is soon expected to decide a Wyoming case between hunters and landowners which could affect public land access. When a group from Missouri …

Health and Wellness

play sound

More than 85,000 people are admitted each year in New Jersey to treatment programs for alcohol and drug addiction, and experts say language can be a …


At least 36% of U.S. bridges need repair, including more than 76,000 in need of replacement, according to the American Road and Transportation Builders Association. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

play sound

Massachusetts will receive close to $1 billion in federal funding to replace the Cape Cod bridges. Lawmakers said it is the largest single bridge …

Social Issues

play sound

Some North Dakota leaders believe healthy food is part of what is needed to help all kids achieve better outcomes and they hope low-income families si…

In Colorado, more than 195,000 people work in agriculture across 38,900 farms and ranches. The industry supplies $47 billion to the state's economy annually. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

play sound

In the past year, the Colorado AgrAbility Project added four behavioral health specialists to help the state's agricultural producers, workers and …

Social Issues

play sound

The nonprofit Este Poder has a goal of helping more young people of color in rural east Texas exercise their right to vote. The organization holds …

Social Issues

play sound

AARP Iowa is on a road trip, taking knowledge to family caregivers wherever they are and helping them learn more about the resources that may be …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021