WBIA BLOG

Newest protester of Rothschild biomass power plant baffling

In a great Wednesday article, the Wausau Daily Herald reported that the D.C. Everest Area School District is looking to join the decision making process behind the proposed $250 million Rothschild biomass power plant.

The district wants “intervenor” status along with such groups as the Wisconsin Public Service Co., Citizens Utility Board, Wisconsin Paper Council, Memominee Tribal Enterprises, labor unions and a group opposed to the power plant called Save Our Air Resource.

The Superintendent Kristine Gilmore said the district’s involvement is crucial because it is responsible for the health and safety of all its students and staff. The district believes that the plant’s emissions could be harmful to students with asthma and other respiratory conditions and that nearby schools do not have the proper ventilation or cleaning equipment to handle the emissions.

The district’s intervenor request was filed well past the April 30 deadline, but  WE Energies spokesman Brian Manthey said PSC typically grants intervenor requests even if they are filed after deadline.

Superintendent Gilmore’s concerns are genuine and respectable, but perhaps the district is missing the bigger picture. It is precisely this younger generation that will suffer if we do not continue to strongly pursue bio power.

Also important to remember is that use of biomass as an energy source results in little net production of carbon dioxide, because the CO2 generated during combustion of plant material equals the CO2 consumed during the lifecycle of the plant. Biomass reduces air pollution by being a part of the carbon cycle, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 90 percent compared with fossil fuels.

We understand the school district’s concerns, and considering its stake in the matter, it should be granted intervenor status, but the pursuit of bio power will benefit these child in the long run.

Manthey, however, did say that WE Energies plans to have the plant operational by 2013 and that opposition by the D.C. Everest Area School District, SOAR and others should not slow the project.

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  • Joe Buska

    Ibelieve that there is an unintedded consequence of this new bio-mass plant. It has been estimated that 27,000 trucks will enter this plant with wood fuel,I assume that 27,000 trucks will also leave the plant. That means that 54,000 trucks either empty or full will use the roadway in Rothschild. Assume that 80% of these trucks will use the 29/51 ramp by Shopko. Today,ther are many times that the traffic waiting to use these ramps is backed up for 2-3 blocks. What will it be like when all of these additional trucks line up to get on or off this ramp. This ramp was not designed to handle this increased activity. How long will it be before people will avoid coming to Rothschild to do amy business . Also big trucks wii eventually distroy the roadway in Rothschild not to mention the difficulty of using the side streets because of traffic. These trucks also create their own form of pouution. The village of Rothschild willsuffer these unintended consequences

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