PO Box 88 ~ Glendale Springs, North Carolina 28629 ~ Phone (336) 982-2691 ~ Fax (336) 982-2954 ~ Email:


May 5, 2011

Louis Zeller 336-977-0852
Therese Vick 919-345-3673
William Frederick 910-267-8671
Peggy Beck 704-843-4400


Today the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League released its comments on the Environmental Protections Agency’s proposed greenhouse gas emission rules. The League called for a halt in permitting of incinerators using biomass fuel until carbon dioxide reductions are required. Also, the League challenged EPA’s earlier decision that biomass fuel itself constitutes adequate pollution control. The organization challenged the EPA to protect Southern communities by preventing the current onslaught of incinerators burning everything from household garbage to whole trees.

The US Environmental Protection Agency proposes a three-year suspension of carbon dioxide regulations for industries using biomass fuels including power plants, paper mills, and waste incinerators.

If approved, the EPA’s greenhouse gas rule would label biomass burning as the best available control technology, carving a giant loophole in the Clean Air Act. Referring to the EPA’s proposed delay, Louis Zeller, the League’s Science Director, said, “The EPA is leaving the door open to hundreds of new sources of greenhouse gas pollution. In three years the damage would be done.”

The prospect of a three-year delay on these regulations is already leading to a rush to site and permit new biomass incinerators. The South has traditionally been the dumping ground of the nation. Therese Vick, the League’s Raleigh-based community organizer, is gravely concerned about the EPA’s inaction resulting in environmental injustice. She said, “EPA is abdicating their responsibility to protect public health and the environment, thus enabling the biomass and waste industry to target poor and minority communities.”

One of these communities is Sampson County in eastern North Carolina where a poultry waste incinerator is proposed. William H. Frederick, Sr. a resident who opposes the project, said, “Biomass incineration and the burning of poultry litter cause toxic air pollution known or suspected to be carcinogenic.” Frederick, who looks to EPA to ensure environmental justice, is a founder of the League’s Sampson County Citizens for a Safe Environment.

Federal stimulus funding and state and local subsidies have attracted inexperienced start-up companies to get into the waste burning business. These companies often disguise their incinerators as waste gasification, plasma arc or myriad other labels. For example, ReVenture Park Investments, LLC has targeted Mecklenburg County, NC. The company has no track record but has political savvy. Charlotte-area resident Peggy Beck said, “Our air is polluted enough without any help from the toxic air emissions from any incineration process.” Beck is organizing a League chapter to oppose the biomass project.

Zeller summarized, “With our state governments having caught deregulation fever and hanging out ‘open for business’ signs, we see the Obama Administration’s EPA as our best line of defense against ill health, environmental pollution and degraded quality of life. Our communities deserve better.”


More info: BREDL Comments: Lou's Comments , Therese's Comments