3 thoughts on “Citing particulate emissions, local activists ask Calpella wood pellet plant close during COVID

  1. If there’s nothing harmful coming out of the plant, why did the emissions have to be reduced by half?

    John Anderson claims they “complied with any required permits”, yet the plant violated it’s emmisions permit for the first two years and it’s only on its third year.

  2. Mendocino community members: This article’s opinion is supported by few actual facts. If you want an actionable item then you will need to set up air pollution sensors near the site. Prove that those emissions are beyond permissible levels. Use Citizen Science because it works. I am willing to bet that Mendocino Forest Products would even set up an air sensor near their site if the public asked. Until you have an argument based on facts, all you will have is an opinion piece in a local publication.
    And another thing: Don’t be hypocrites. Every autumn vineyards pollute the air with burn piles. I have experienced the eye-watering smoke on countless occasions. If you are serious about controlling air pollution look at what you can do about burn piles. I know it is easier to blame Mendocino Forest Products rather than individual landowners. They are a big target. I am willing to bet if vineyards could turn vines into pellets the community would support it.
    Agriculture has a blank-check when it comes to pollution. They spray nasty chemicals, are barely regulated when it comes to water pollution, and completely destroy the soil. Agriculture is so much more worse than the timber industry. But here’s the thing: Agriculture uses the “I am such a poor farmer” stance and act like its beyond their power to manage their land better. Timber companies are required to do environmental management on a large scale. Agriculture pollutes the air to clear the fields of unwanted vines, Mendocino Forest Products is trying to sell a product that people can more cleanly burn than traditional wood products.
    In summary: Make your argument based on facts. Pick an argument that is worth the effort. Support local industries that are making a difference. Don’t be hypocrites.

  3. I have some issues with the article that need to be pointed out:

    1. Mendocino Forest Products (MFP) owns the land and the equipment, but does not operate the plant. Forest Energy Mendocino (FE) operates the plant. Both entities are listed on the air quality permit.
    2. Nowhere in the article are emission rates and emission limit values provided. The permit lists these rates and values and needs to be included to add context to the article. For reference, we are talking about a 1.1 pound per hour emission rate limit and a 4.8 ton annual emission limit for PM 2.5 and PM 10. The article implies that the plant is a major source of air pollution. Open burning produces PM emissions throughout the County, but that has not been curtailed because of the pandemic.
    3. The Social Environmental Indigenous Justice (SEIJ) activist group is an anti-resource development, anti-business, anti-private property group operating under the umbrella of environmental justice. They do not like the fact that the MFP family of companies owns over 400,000 acres of forestlands in Sonoma, Mendocino and Humboldt Counties. They consider these lands to be indigenous lands and challenge all resource development activities.
    4. The article does not mention any mitigation measures that were implemented as a result of initial emissions testing that indicated non-compliance with permitted limits. MFP/FE shut down the plant, upgraded emission control equipment and operated at a lower capacity (throughput), so emissions would remain below permit limits when they started back up prior to subsequent testing. The article implies that the plant continued to operate at maximum capacity when out of compliance with emission limits.
    5. MFP/FE completed air dispersion modeling and a Best Available Control Technology analysis to identify better air pollution control equipment following the first emissions test that indicated non-compliance. Neither were required by the Air District to obtain the permit.
    6. MFP/FE sent out invitations to the surrounding community and invited people to visit the plant when operations began.. No one from the community showed up, including local tribal elders and SEIJ.

    Perhaps more in-depth investigating by the reporter is needed for the article because it appears biased and based on opinion.

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