Lee Ann Warner: Clean-energy money not for burning woodlands

Thursday, August 24, 2017
Clean-energy money not for woodlands

I have no problem with well-managed forest woodlands, and in fact own land that has been in the Chapter 61A program.

But I do not believe that this is the time to promote the burning of our woodlands with our tax dollars supposedly dedicated to furthering alternative clean energy forms and technologies. Clean energy doesn’t come from a smokestack, and burning more trees will add more carbon dioxide and pollution to our climate and air when we can no longer afford to do so.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Massachusetts already burns more wood than any other New England state. In the Pioneer Valley, asthma is of epidemic proportions, and adding more particulate matter to the air will only worsen these conditions.

That is a significant health threat since these particles are so small that they can’t get stuck in your nose and go directly into the deepest parts of your lungs. You can’t see the particles. They simply look like a haze. The medical research is incontrovertible. These particles cause respiratory illnesses like asthma and cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

At a time when our president has removed us from the Paris climate accord, and our governor has vowed to keep our state on track to meet our world climate commitments, this is a step in the wrong direction. Although the forestry and biomass industries have substantial funds to lobby for their interests, I don’t believe they speak for the majority of Massachusetts residents who want their tax money —that is supposed to be allocated to clean energy — spent on alternative forms and research that won’t further warm the planet, worsen sickness and pollute our air.

Lee Ann Warner