Chris Matera's "Burning Wood Better Left to Cavemen" touts the advantages of coal vs. wood without examining the carbon footprint of extracting the two as a fuel source. Nor does Matera acknowledge the historic destruction coal has caused to Northeast forests due to its release of mercury compounds and acid rain producing sulphur. Burning coal and other fossil fuels has led to climate change; whereas, wood has been utilized as a fuel source - as Matera aptly points out - since the caveman and did not contribute to this phenomena.
But perhaps the worst impact of coal is the wholesale destruction of mountains and forests and the vast scarring and pollution resulting from its extraction. Compare this to sustainably-managed and environmentally-sensitive logging practices, mandated by Massachusetts law, that do not destroy forests, but enhances them by allowing for regenerate growth, diversity of age composition and species, and the creation of vitally needed habitat for wildlife.
Currently, area public and private forests are plagued by Red Pine Scale, Elongate Hemlock Scale and Hemlock Woolley Adelgids. These trees need to be removed and allow for natural processes to replace them with a healthy forest. If these diseases are allowed to spread unchecked, our Massachusetts forest will be increasing plagued by forest fires that allow for the unmitigated release of carbon dioxide. And though I agree with Matera that large-scale biomass power generation may not be the most effective use of the resource, small-scale, minimally polluting, combined heat and power (CHP) biomass can be used by industries such as Erving Paper Mills to reduce heat and electricity costs - a win-win for the environment, jobs, and the overall economic health of the region.
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