The NH Sierra Club Hates the Biomass Bailout Bill - Wait Till You Hear Why? - Granite Grok

The NH Sierra Club Hates the Biomass Bailout Bill – Wait Till You Hear Why?

Catherine Corkery and James McCaffrey have an Op-Ed in today’s Union Leader supporting the veto of SB 365 and opposing an override by the New Hampshire Legislature. Corkery is the director of the NH Sierra Club and McCaffery is the “New England legislative director of the Partnership for Policy Integrity.” PFPI is an environmental action group that opposes woodburning “cuz it’s so dirty.”

They prefer Wind and Solar because, as the SB365 bailout bill proves, biomass “simply cannot survive without wasteful and ongoing subsidies from ratepayers and the public.” Say what!?

First, I agree. SB365 is a sop, a waste, destructive to the State economy, and I’ve written about it in detail on more than several occasions. It’s expensive, inefficient, wood welfare and the New Hampshire legislature should not be propping it up at the expense of everyone else.

The legislature passes a policy that drives up the cost of a product or service to keep a favored business or industry afloat. Without this protection money, those who benefit may no longer be able to enjoy the lifestyle to which they’ve become accustomed.

This is the story of the green energy business. New Hampshire’s biggest player in this redistribution scheme is the timber industry which peddles “low grade” leftovers to biomass plants that convert it into expensive electricity the police-state forces on ratepayers.

There is a profitable waste-wood-as-fuel industry called the pellet stove market. Why aren’t they begging for subsidies? Maybe there’s a reason, but I digress.

Corkery and McCaffery sound almost conservative in their objection to any override of Governor Sununu’s veto, but they’ve got plenty of concerns other than the redistribution scheme.

Wood burning is dirty. Inefficient. And it’s not a sustainable use of our forests. And by the way, it’s dirty.

According to federal data, burning wood is one of the most expensive, polluting and inefficient technologies for producing electricity, exceeded only by garbage incineration. Both biomass and trash burning facilities emit more carbon dioxide, soot, and most other conventional air pollutants at the stack per megawatt hour than even coal. They are also major sources of mercury and other heavy metals, volatile organic chemicals, and carcinogens, including dioxins and furans.

It’s a bipolar experience really. Dirtier than coal. Did anyone tell the Sierra club to stop donating to Jeanne Shaheen because the Granite State’s own ‘Betty Biomass’ has been promising us that New Hampshire would be the wood-powered green energy mecca for more than a decade and that this was good for the environment.

The contradictions continue as we find yet another passage that could be a quote pulled from any number of my past blog posts.

New Hampshire is a net exporter of electricity, yet our residents and businesses are burdened with some of the highest electricity rates in the nation. Residential and commercial electricity rates are 50 percent higher than the national average, and industrial rates are nearly double.

All in all, it was an interesting read, but it still left me wondering.

The Legislature now has a clear choice before it: Continue to saddle New Hampshire ratepayers with extra costs to keep these polluting relics online or chart a course toward a clean renewable energy future by providing support for truly clean technologies like efficiency, offshore wind, and solar.

Which are propped up in the vetoed companion bill (SB446) the same legislature seeks to override. A bill that does something similar for the wind and solar as it does for biomass. Saddle business owners and ratepayers with the added cost of paying above market rates for energy producing-infrastructure that can’t support itself without taxpayer bailouts.

But SB446 is not bad, according to Corkery and McCaffery.

In contrast, investments in clean, renewable energy — such as through the net metering bill SB 446 that Gov. Sununu also vetoed — would have long-term benefits for New Hampshire residents and ratepayers and can also help create new sustainable jobs in the clean energy economy. Unlike the biomass industry, which continues to return to the public trough for more handouts, the cost of wind and solar power development continues to decline as its use scales up.

First, Solar and Wind are not clean. They have lousy shelf lives and the front and back end environmental costs are enormous. That aside, and despite any delusions of scale – only ever possible thanks to the awful terrible abuse of taxpayers they oppose in SB 365, the so-called good “green energy” can’t even walk on the field let alone compete without the government using policy to drive up the cost of electricity.

At the end of the day, it’s the same damn problem.

Which is why we need to support the Governor’s veto of both bills. Call your reps and senators. Ask them not to override the vetoes on SB446 and SB365. They both need your green to feed them and its bad for all the same reasons.