On National Big Bad Bioenergy Day, MFRC organized a vigil at Sanderson Academy in Ashfield, one of six schools which received DOER administered SAPHIRE Grants to replace fossil fuel heating with pellet boilers. (Usually three pellet boilers to one gas or oil burner)
Biomass heat deals a “double whammy” to the climate, releasing CO2 at the time of logging (From soil and the tree) and burning. (Far more CO2 released than any other fuel source!) Moreover, the forests no longer can act as carbon sinks to help reduce global warming!
There are as yet undetermined effects upon the ecosystem and biodiversity, from the fungal networks on the forest floor to wildlife, fighting for their lives, climate refugees of a different kind who often perish.
Of particular significance is the fact that prior to the contracts being signed, in March 2, 2015, the American Lung Association complained about the health hazards of biomass/pellet burners in schools. (Attachment)
MFRC wrote a letter to Superintendent Buoniconti, asking pertinent questions addressing concerns and the lack of exploration of alternative, more energy efficient methods of heating and cooling school buildings in the Mohawk School District, such as Ground or Air Source heat pumps and mini splits.
When MFRC arrived a school staff member came out and told us that Mass. Forest Alliance had cancelled the tour of the Sanderson Academy pellet boilers! Several of our group delivered a packet, including the ALA letter and our letter to Superintendent Buoniconti. (Attached)
Richie Davis wrote an article in the Recorder appearing on 10-19-17. While it did not mention that this Mass Forest Alliance(MFA)-Mass. Dept. of Energy Resources (DOER) biomass boiler scheme fits into the Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership Plan of increasing bioenergy heat in the 21 Town region, the article addresses health issues and concerns of bioenergy/heat to climate, biodiversity and health. Combustion should be replaced by viable and health conscious solar powered heating (and cooling!) systems for schools!