If Georgians hope to benefit from political decisions that are truly in our own interest, it’s essential that we become more vigilant. Among the most vital policies in jeopardy are those governing energy choices – how power is generated, sold, and regulated.
A unique aspect of Georgia’s energy policy is the wood-pellet industry. A report of the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) presents compelling reasons why we should be very concerned about the state-sponsored and deviously sanctioned use of wood for generating power.
At the heart of such concerns is the bogus claim that burning “biomass” is carbon neutral, falsely implying that it doesn’t increase heat-trapping greenhouse-gas problems. At the same, cutting forests perilously undermines vitally needed carbon-storage capacity.
Justification for burning wood to produce power violates both factual evidence and common sense on several counts. But the most egregious consequence of wood combustion is that the resulting emissions are even worse than burning coal, working directly against critical, timely efforts to curb climate overheating and its destructive results – rising sea-level, extreme weather, and loss of essential food supplies.
Georgia’s five wood-pellet plants annually emit at least 499 tons of soot (fine-particle pollution, which causes asthma and heart attacks), 999 tons of volatile organic compounds (contributing to smog), 584 tons of ozone-depleting nitrogen-oxides, and 649,836 tons of carbon-dioxide, worsening global overheating. According to the EIP report, such emissions will double once four new pellet plants are built.
To ensure responsible use of Georgia’s resources, we cannot afford recklessly accommodating the wood-pellet industry.
Center for a Sustainable Coast