Whitey Markle. Conservation Chair
The Suwannee/ St. Johns Sierra Club opposes any new waste-to-energy facilities in the North Central Florida region. We are a conservation group and strongly support conservation of energy and natural resources. Not fuel burning facilities.
Dixie Waste Services, LLC, Dixie County, now wishes to extend an “Air Construction Permit” from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. In the application to FDEP, the applicant lists primary and secondary control devices as “Not Applicable”, when queried on their application about the process of scrubbing the by-products of “Syngas,” a gas that produces lots of energy at a lower temperature to turn the turbines that generate more electricity. Reading between the lines, we oppose FDEP in permitting this private outfit from eventually burning tires, garbage, and medical waste.
The Gainesville Renewable Energy Center (GREC) in Alachua County poses a similar threat. Although in the application process Gainesville officials claimed to burn only “timber harvest waste,” disclaimers were left in the wording to allow other garbage to be burned. When the pine plantations are all harvested for fuel, and the refuse burned up, based on the speculation for more biomass burning plants in our region or exports of forest product fuel out of our region, we will be left with the burning of “alternative” fuels such as auto waste, tires, and garbage. Just like the cement plant west of the Ichetucknee River.
The water management districts are at odds over how Jacksonville has created water related problems in our local rivers due to their over-pumping of ground water, and most recently the additional 160 million gallons of water per day consumptive use permit for the Jacksonville Electrical Authority . If we are losing water to another water district and city, for the creation of energy there (and lawn watering), there should be some serious concern locally over the amount of water that will be needed to help power this new GREC biomass plant. There will also be a huge water use demand from the over-populated southern counties too. We have to say “No”.
There is no need for additional energy in the region and the additional greenhouse gasses will not be absorbed for the next 20 years. (Most of the argument for the GREC: Reduce greenhouse gas emissions).
The Gainesville leaders left themselves in a comfortable position regarding the GREC plant. They still have the ability to incinerate waste if needed and, if they get this monster constructed quickly enough, they receive $250 million from the Federal government (TARP money). It’s obviously not necessary, but very lucrative for the Boston based American Renewables people, and the New York branch of The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, investors that will reap the profits at the expense of local GRU customers.
The Suwannee/St. Johns Sierra Club and our allies oppose any type of fuel-burning energy generators. We recommend more exploration and expansion in the Photovoltaic realm, and expansion of energy conservation programs .