Like a cancer patient that is riddled with metastatic disease, plans for biomass plants are spreading all over Florida and Georgia. The Florida Medical Association, deeply concerned about the poisonous emissions spewing from the smokestacks of these incinerators, urges state government to minimize their approval and construction.
The biomass industry has shrugged off concerns from the Florida Medical Association and other environmental groups, claiming biomass is renewable and green. But these are false claims as the tons of particle pollution and other hazardous emissions will cause asthma and heart attacks, strokes, cancer and shorten lives.
Momentum against this polluting industry is gaining steam as informed citizens take a critical look. The Massachusetts Medical Society opposes three proposed large-scale power plants. They cite an unacceptable public health risk and heeding their warning, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Regulation responded by suspending all biomass plant applications.
In contrast, Secretary Sole of the Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection has been dismissive of health risks and has signaled that approvals for proposed plants in Port St. Joe, Gretna, Gilchrist County and in Hamilton County may be forthcoming. DEP granted an air permit for the proposed biomass plant in Tallahassee earlier this year. A huge public outcry ensued, and the company is now moving to Port St. Joe.
Concerned about the adverse impact to Floridians, Gov. Crist stopped the construction of further coal plants. Crist now needs to look north, and follow the lead of Massachusetts and stop all biomass plant applications. Politicians shouldn’t be bamboozled by the lies of a polluting industry. Floridians have the right to breathe clean air, and sacrificing our health for corporate profit is an outrage.
Dr. Ronald Saff Tallahassee
Member, Physicians for Social Responsibility