skip to main content
skip to newscasts

Friday, April 19, 2024

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

Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

Energy Market for Wood Pellets Globally Threatens U.S. Forests

play audio
Play

Monday, March 20, 2023   

Overseas markets could be harming forests in the U.S. Demand for wood pellets for biomass energy has increased dramatically around the world, especially in Europe where burning wood is treated as renewable energy and heavily subsidized.

The UK-based company Drax Group plans to build a 450,000 ton per year wood pellet plant in Longview.

Peter Riggs, director of the Washington state-based nonprofit Pivot Point, said the region has a productive wood sector.

"This new wood pellet plant proposed for Longview is very different," Riggs pointed out. "First of all, it's not for the domestic market, it's not making pellets for home stoves. It represents a substantial and entirely new source of wood fiber demand for export."

Riggs said much of the biomass would be bound for Asia. His organization signed a letter, along with more than 100 others in the U.S. and Canada, calling for the European Union to stop incentivizing wood burning as renewable energy.

Laura Haight, U.S. policy director for the Partnership for Policy Integrity, said despite its label as renewable energy, burning wood from forests one of the worst activities for the environment. It releases emissions when burned and removes trees that store carbon. Haight's organization also signed the letter to the European Union, urging it to no longer classify forest biomass as renewable.

"It's the money that's driving this system," Haight asserted. "If they change that policy, then this will no longer be subsidized, and we can see a better future for our forests and for our climate."

Riggs noted solar and wind energy were subsidized, and the costs have gone down dramatically. However, the same is not true for forest biomass. He emphasized plant operators have struggled to reduce the costs involved in sourcing, transporting and burning biomass fuels.

"If they're going to subsidize it, you kind of got to subsidize it forever," Riggs contended. "But with wind and solar, those are already cost-competitive."

Disclosure: The Partnership for Policy Integrity contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Energy Policy, Environment, Environmental Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
more stories
The Bureau of Land Management's newly issued Public Lands Rule is designed to safeguard cultural resources such as New Mexico's Chaco Culture National Park. (Photo courtesy SallyPaez)

Environment

play sound

Balancing the needs of the many with those who have traditionally reaped benefits from public lands is behind a new rule issued Thursday by the Bureau…


Health and Wellness

play sound

Alzheimer's disease is the eighth-leading cause of death in Pennsylvania. A documentary on the topic debuts Saturday in Pittsburgh. "Remember Me: …

Social Issues

play sound

April is Financial Literacy Month, when the focus is on learning smart money habits but also how to protect yourself from fraud. One problem on the …


Outdoor recreation added $11.7 million to the Arizona economy in 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

play sound

Arizona conservation groups and sportsmen alike say they're pleased the Bureau of Land Management will now recognize conservation as an integral part …

play sound

Across the U.S., most political boundaries tied to the 2020 Census have been in place for a while, but a national project on map fairness for …

The 2023 Annie E. Casey Foundation Data Book ranked Arkansas 37th in the nation for education, and said 56% of young children were not in preschool programs to help get them ready for school. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

play sound

The need for child care and early learning is critical, especially in rural Arkansas. One nonprofit is working to fill those gaps by giving providers …

Environment

play sound

An annual march for farmworkers' rights is being held Sunday in northwest Washington. This year, marchers are focusing on the conditions for local …

Social Issues

play sound

A new Gallup and Lumina Foundation poll unveils a concerning reality: Hoosiers may lack clarity about the true cost of higher education. The survey …

 

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