Friday, October 14, 2011

Another Green Project Shut Down

Liberal Washingtonians pride themselves in being “green”. Recycling is a big deal here, although we have to pay for the privilege. The West Coast Green Highway project is starting to install electric car chargers along the I-5 corridor (although I still think it a huge waste of money. And they have done a terrific job of cleaning up Puget Sound.

But news coming out of Vancouver has me a little confused. It seems that company wants to open up a biomass plant in an industrial area of Vancouver (for those unaware, Vancouver is just across the river from Portland, OR). This plant would burn wood debris and generate electricity for a group of nearby buildings. The excess electricity would be sold.

The confusing part comes as the Vancouver city council put a 6-month moratorium on any construction ad permit issuing. Apparently there are some concerns about noise, traffic and odor. But this moratorium is going to have a serious impact on the construction. Schneider Electric was going to build this plant with absolutely no local taxpayer money. A goodly portion, $8 million, of the $25 million dollar cost was going to come from a federal grant for these types of project. Schneider Electric was going to cover the rest of the costs. But the moratorium will likely cause the federal grant to expire, leaving the company to pick up the rest of the tab if it wants to build.

This is the kind of thing that really gets me about the whole green movement. Not only was this plant going to generate electricity in a fairly green manner, it wasn’t going to cost the local government a dime. Now I understand there are some concerns, but why shut the whole process down, and possibility cause the cancellation of a good project? I know there were environmental impact statements done during the planning stages. Heck, we can’t even fart without filing tons of paperwork with the local and federal level environmental folks. So why wasn’t this enough?


  1. Righty
    Aha another shovel ready project... I too am amazed by the conflicting priorities of the green movement. While it's not directly applicable, this is just like the conflicting priorities evident in the folks camping out near Wall Street. Give me the Tea Party with a single overreaching priority ... cut spending. Keep up the mach.
    Anon in Boise

  2. You aren't completely alone - another WA conservative here.

    I live in another town where there was recently a huge outcry (from a very small group of people) over a proposed biomass plant. What amazed me is that almost all of them admitted voting for I-937 (our wonderful green energy mandate), which legally defines biomass as one of the anointed renewable technologies (while excluding hydropower).

    Yet they became all but incoherent when a company wanted to build a plant using a technology their own environmental community expressly included in the initiative as a renewable resource more preferable to them than dams.

    I have to admit I'm curious how a city or county can legally justify forbidding construction of something which is not only allowed under law, but specifically designated as one of the few allowable resources *mandated* for use by utilities in complying with the law.

    Mind boggling.