Opponents of We Energies' plan to build 50-MW wood biomass power plant at Domtar's Rothschild, Wisconsin, paper mill file lawsuit challenging state air pollution permit, demand Sierra Club renounce its support for project

Rachel Carter

Rachel Carter

Jun 21, 2011 – Biomass Accountability Project

ROTHSCHILD, Wisconsin , June 21, 2011 (press release) – Opponents of the biomass incinerator proposed for Rothschild, Wisconsin challenged yesterday’s announcement by Domtar Corporation to participate in the project with We Energies. Saying the incinerator will be a “major polluter,” Save Our Air Resources (SOAR) and Biomass Accountability Project claim Domtar misrepresents the project as “green.” SOAR and two residents filed a lawsuit challenging the state air pollution permit and two national groups demanded that Sierra Club renounce its decision to support the project.

“This fight is far from over,” said Biomass Accountability Project spokesperson Meg Sheehan. The groups challenge yesterday’s claims by John Williams, Domtar President and CEO that the project will create “green power” and use only “wood, wood waste and sawdust.” “To the contrary, official company documents show the project is a major source of air pollution and will burn solid waste,” said Sheehan.

“Domtar is a prime example of everything wrong with biomass electricity generation,” said Mary Booth, PhD of the Partnership for Policy Integrity. “Because the plant will burn wastewater residue and construction and demolition debris, emissions of toxic air pollutants like lead, chromium, arsenic, and dioxin will increase.”

According to Dr. William Sammons, "This incinerator’s air pollution will contribute to asthma, heart disease and more.” Save Our Air Resources spokesperson Paul Schwantes, said “toxic air pollution from the incinerator will poison the 2,600 children that live and go to school directly downwind from the biomass plant. We are not fooled by claims that this is a “green” project.”

“Green energy doesn’t come out of a smokestack,” Sheehan said. This project is so dirty that the American Lung Association and over 77,000 physicians nationwide oppose toxic biomass incinerators like this one. Domtar markets itself as “the sustainable paper company” in an effort to hide the devastating health and environmental impacts of this project. This is a black mark on the company’s efforts to brand itself as “green.”

"While other leading environmental groups oppose projects like this, Sierra Club is one group that refuses to step up and renounce its poor decision to support it. It’s time for them to do the right thing,” said Sheehan.

For more information: www.nobiomass.org; Partnership for Policy Integrity, http://www.pfpi.net/domtar-biomass-power-plant-would-be-a-huge-polluter; http://www.nobiomassburning.org

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