2. Take Action! Ways to get involved in our campaigns
We need your help! Can you lobby your MP on bioenergy issues? Or would you like to join our London local group? Below are some ideas for how to actively support our work this month Read More
3. Drax's new "White Rose" power station
The White Rose Project is a proposal for a new coal power station (possibly to be co-fired with biomass) to be built next to Drax's existing coal and biomass power station. The National Grid is considering whether to invest in infrastructure to transport CO2 from the White Rose site and to pump it underneath the North Sea in a carbon capture and storage scheme.
The project is one of just two 'preferred bidders' for a £900 million capital grant from the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the developers have already received £50 million from DECC for a feasibility study. DECC also expects the project to attract a Green Investment Bank loan. If the plant was built and run with CCS, it would be eligible for annual subsidies (Contract for Difference) and for up to €300 million from the European Commission.
4. Protests against Suzano Papel e Celulose continue in Brazil
In 2013, as part of our report "Biomass: The Chain of Destruction", we published a field study about Suzano's eucalyptus plantations by the World Rainforest Movement and CEPEDES. The authors looked at the impacts of eucalyptus plantations by the Brazilian pulp and paper company Suzano in the Baixo Parnaíba region of Maranhão. Some of the plantations were established for the pulp and paper market and others for pellet production for export to the EU, although plans for a pellet mill in Maranhão remain suspended.
Many subscribers to this list signed a petition to the state government and to the Brazilian Institute for Land Reform, calling for the legal recognition of the land rights of traditional communities threatened by plantation companies such as Suzano. Late last year, the Brazilian Institute for Land Reform returned land in two areas to traditional communities and the state authorities guaranteed the land rights of two other communities, both of which had featured in the "Biomass The Chain of Destruction" report. This has been a great success for local resistance and of national and international solidarity.
5. An inspiring story of People Power challenging the advance of GE trees
In the US, it was recently discovered that the Department of Agriculture had quietly approved a genetically engineered loblolly pine, altogether bypassing regulatory processes. They claimed the tree was not within their authority to regulate because no "plant pest" genes were involved in the engineering of the tree. This massive loophole has been used as a convenience and is troubling given many new techniques in biotechnology that could result in a flood of unregulated GMOs.
Following on the heels of this, Brazil's National Technical Commission on Biosecurity (CTNBio) announced that they would make a final determination on deregulation of an engineered eucalyptus developed by the biotechnology company Futuragene. Read More
On the morning of 5 March 2015, 1,000 women took over operations of genetically engineered tree company Futuragene in Brazil. The action included the destruction of GE eucalyptus seedlings.
6. Open Letter calls for real action to curb EU demand for palm oil linked to biofuels
In February, nearly 200 civil society groups, many of them from Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and other countries affected by oil palm plantations, signed an Open Letter to the European Parliament, ahead of a parliamentary committee vote on important reforms to EU biofuel policy. The letter calls for real action to restrict Europe's demand for biofuels and warns that, without such urgent action, the EU's biofuel demand will continue to force the transformation of vital forests, community lands and biodiversity hot-spots into industrial-scale, monoculture, oil palm plantations. See here However, a final decision on possible EU biofuel reforms is yet to be made – proposals will next be voted on by the whole Parliament.
7. News from local campaigns fighting big biomass projects
Markinch Biomass Power Station in Scotland
On the 5th of March Scotland's Energy Minister, Fergus Ewing, officially opened RWE's Markinch Biomass plant in Glenrothes, the largest dedicated biomass power plant in the UK and one of the biggest in Europe.
In response, residents living near to RWE's biomass plant at Markinch and close to the woodchipping facility in Cardenden, Fife, have spoken out about the impacts they are experiencing from the new multi-million pound power station. Impacts ranging from severe noise and light pollution from the plant to exposure to toxic wood dust at the chipping facility have largely been ignored by the company and local authority.