UPDATE: PROJECT STALLED…..WWW Letter on Biomass project: Dirty fuel project, more greenwashing

Sonoma “Clean” Power has taken a pause for one year on the biomass project after community outcry. Supervisor Lynda Hopkins was the only supervisor to push this dirty energy project and continues to do so. Let her know why you  why you oppose.  district5@sonoma-county.org

WWW Letter on Biomass project: Dirty fuel project, more greenwashing


January 31, 2021


RE: Sonoma BioMass Competition

Wine and Water Watch is a local organization of over 300 citizens concerned with the overdevelopment of the wine tourism industry and promotes ethical land and water use. The Sonoma Biomass Competition is in direct opposition to environmental science standards to protect our fire prone areas. This project needs to cease and desist. It is a dirty energy project by any science standards.

Sonoma “Clean” Power, you are greenwashing this project to support the logging industry. Really? Show us your “science” that you are using to promote dirty energy. No excuse for anyone in this county supporting a new extractive industry that will further decimate our environment and not enhance the quality of life in this county. Where is the public benefit? NONE!  

We were all quite shocked to see the county’s Russian River Confluence and others promoting this atrocious new lumber industry enterprise to further devastate our watersheds in the beginning of a megadroughtNOAA releases 2020-2021 winter forecast, expecting warmer temperatures in the South (wsls.com)) for a polluting biomass program that has been refuted on all levels by real science. Why do we keep paying for fish restoration when projects like this cause siltation and destroy our watersheds.

If the County is serious about reducing fire load, stop all logging (which is proven to cause more and stronger fires), stop the draining of our aquifers by the wine industry that dries out the landscape including trees making areas even more fire prone, stop allowing for building on narrow roads in the wild interface (worst fire danger areas, most deaths) and create a new tree ordinance that will regenerate our wild areas to balance. Without healthy forests, our aquifers will be shorted recharge ability.

Biomass is a dirty energy project that pollutes worse than natural gas and the drastic drop in biomass plants in the state has gone down from a high of 63 to a 34 for a reason: polluting, not economical, adding to climate change. Recent legislation requiring biomass to be used for energy is the main reason these dirty and polluting industry is not totally shuttered.

Solar and wind are now much more effective cost wise and environmentally friendly than biomass. 12 million trees have died from 2012 to 2017 in our forests due to pine beetle infestation and drought. The previously logged areas in Paradise and Red Bluff were the hottest and most rapid fires in the state last year. Leave those trees to foster new vegetations, wildlife and allow the soils to recover the water loss from climate change.

The dead trees and detritus are an important part of the forest ecosystem. Organic decomposing flora hold 5 to 6 times their weight in water and direct aquifer recharge via root systems. Running roads through these weakened ecosystems and removing water slowing vegetation will only increase drought conditions and create more fires, more unhealthy air, more wildlife killed, and residents evacuated.

Bad idea, wrong century. We owe it to future generations to protect our resources.


Wine & Water Watch Board

Janus Matthes, Deb Preston, Merrilyn Joyce, Tom Conlon, Dr Shepherd Bliss, Judith Jonville, Charlotte Williams, Pamela Singer

Science that substantiates biomass is an environmental disaster

Comments on California Forest Carbon Plan (January 20, 2017 Draft) (biologicaldiversity.org)

Bill McKibben’s (350) article , To Counter Climate Change, We Need to Stop Burning Things